Stroll through the streets of Florence with the 2020 edition of Emiko Davies’ award-winning Florentine. This new format cookbook beautifully packages Emiko’s recipes, photographs and insights, each informed by her experience of Tuscany’s capital over more than a decade. As well, it includes new neighbourhood itineraries—from 24 Hours in Florence, to Day Trips Outside the City Centre, to Best Bistecca and Pastry Shops, to Shopping for Cook’s Tools.
Emiko’s recipes transport readers to the piazzas of Florence. From her torta di mele—a reassuringly nonna-esque apple cake—to ravioli pera e ricotta, mouthwateringly buttery pear and ricotta ravioloni—she shares an enchanting culinary tour of the city. Visit pastry shops bustling with espresso-sippers, hole-in-the-wall wine bars, busy food vans and lunchtime trattorias, and learn how and why the people of Florence remain so proudly attached to their unchanging cuisine.
It’s a cuisine that tells the unique story of its city, dish by dish. From the morning ritual of la pasticceria (the pastry shop) and il forno (the bakery), the tantalizing fresh produce of il mercato (the market) and il maccellaio (the butcher) through to the romance of la trattoria.
With a nod to Florence’s rich history, Florentine offers traditional dishes beloved in homes across the region too, including schiacciata fiorentina (orange and vanilla cake), apricot jam crostata (apricot jam pie), piselli alla fiorentina (peas cooked in tomato sauce) and cinghiale con le olive (stewed wild boar with olives). Seasons and long-held food traditions play an important role in the Tuscan kitchen and this is reflected in every Florentine menu, bakery window or market stall.
A Japanese-Australian who lives in the hills of Tuscany with her Italian sommelier husband and their family, Emiko says that one of the things she has come to appreciate is that there is no such thing as Italian cuisine; rather, Florentine is about offering readers a local’s perspective on one of the country’s 20 regional cuisines. In this case, the one that has won her heart.
Tuna, Bean & Onion Salad
A satisfying, refreshing salad, tonno, fagioli e cipolla is great for a summer lunch or barbecue. Although it is infinitely better when done with dried beans that you have cooked yourself, this also happens to be my go-to lunch when I’m time-poor or have nothing in the fridge, as it can be whipped up in a matter of minutes with good-quality tinned beans and some basil picked out of my herb pots. You could also replace the cannellini beans with borlotti beans or chickpeas, and the basil with fresh oregano, parsley or marjoram.
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
250 ml (81⁄2 fl oz/1 cup) boiling water 250 g (9 oz) tinned tuna in brine, drained
350 g (121⁄2 oz) drained, cooked cannellini beans, either homemade (page 101) or tinned
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar 10–12 basil leaves, torn
To take the edge off the raw onion, put the slices in a mixing bowl and pour boiling water over the top. Let the slices sit for about 5–10 minutes so they are still crunchy and sweet, and drain.
Combine the onion with the remaining ingredients in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, toss together and serve.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Book.