Pecorino cheese of Crotone… in the garden

Ingredients for 4 people

For the grill:
200g of crotonese pecorino DOP, qb black pepper, 5g of EVO, 1g of rosemary.

Season the pecorino cheese with the oil and the aromas, grill on a very hot plate on both sides and pass in the oven at 180 °C for one minute.

For the sauce :
400g of fresh milk, 100g of fresh cream, 10g of butter, 10g of flour, qb salt and white pepper, 50g of crotonese pecorino DOP.

In a saucepan pour the milk and cream, season with salt and white pepper and bring to a boil, then add the butter and flour. Continue to cook over a low heat, continuing to mix. Finally add the grated pecorino and mix vigorously until obtaining a homogeneous mixture.

For the pecorino ice cream:

150g of fresh cream, 250g of milk, 170g of DOP crotonese pecorino cheese, 130g of egg white, 20g of milk powder.

In a bowl mix vigorously, with a whisk, the egg white, pecorino cheese and milk powder. Boil the milk and cream and pour them into the bowl. Mix well, put everything on the heat and bring to 85 °C. Filter and break down. Finally work on the Pacojet.

For the pecorino foam:
100g of milk, 20g of crotonese pecorino DOP grated, 2g of soy lecithin.
Bring the milk to a boil and add the grated pecorino cheese. Allow to cool and add the soy lecithin. Emulsify with the immersion blender.

For the vegetables:
60g of courgettes, 40g of red Tropea onion, 10g of black olives, 40g of purple potatoes, 60g of spring onion, 40g of radishes, 20g of capers, 20g of carrots, 20g of small tomatoes, 30g of chanterelle mushrooms, 20g of peas, 20g of green beans.

Clean all the vegetables and dress with oil, salt and pepper.

Composition of the dish:
At the base of the dish lay down all the vegetables and add the grated pecorino cheese, the foam and the pecorino sauce, some pecorino flakes and the pecorino air, complete with a thread of EVO.

I remember that the smell of this cheese was the one that stood out most from the other products in the cheesemonger’s shop in my village. My grandfather took it as lunch when he went to work in the fields. Today, Pecorino Crotonese is considered an excellent cheese that has earned the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) recognition. Pecorino Crotonese is produced in an area full of extensive pastures with about one third milk from goats and sheep (Gentile di Puglia breed). The animals are raised in the semi-wild or semi-stalled state with measures that favour the seasonal trend. The pecorino is matured for up to two years. One of the oldest historic sources documenting the art of preparing it dates back to 1759. The peak and dissemination of Pecorino Crotonese was in the period of the Bourbon kingdom when fresh cheese started to be matured so that it could reach the Naples market where there was great demand. The production method remained unchanged until about 10 years ago.
Pecorino Crotonese is one of the sheep’s milk cheeses produced in Calabria and is undoubtedly the most widespread and best-known also beyond the regional borders. It’s a small, cylindrical cheese with a milky white soft paste when it’s fresh while, it more mature, it has a hard, yellow paste with small eyes. The straw yellow rind is thin with the marks of the basket it was matured in. Over time, the cheese becomes very dry, exalting the tasty, spicy flavour. At table, dry pecorino is excellent as hors d’oeuvres, with local salami, fresh vegetables or those in oil, dried tomatoes or other Calabrian products. The fresh variety is delicious grated on starters, particularly those topped with spicy meat sauce or the meat from a kid or lamb.
The territory
Crotone, an ancient Achaean colony, was founded in 709 BC by peoples from the Peloponnese, in the same place as a pre-existing native settlement, and was one of the most important centres of Magna Graecia. It was famous for its healthy climate, the fertile countryside, the beauty of its women and the physical strength of its men. Milo, who won many Olympic titles, is still remembered. It was also famous for its doctors, like Democedes and Alcmaeon; the latter introduced experimentation, transforming medicine into a science which, up to then, had been «polluted» by magic and superstition. Over the centuries, the city has undergone various dominations and they have all left tangible signs on the artistic and monumental heritage. It develops in a labyrinth of narrow alleys and squares to the cathedral and central Piazza Pitagora, the meeting point between the old and new cities.