The “cialledda” is the real queen of the Apulian summer: natural, cooling and more nourishing than a salad but less heavy of a pasta dish, it is an brilliant solution for who searches a quick recipe to recycle the stale bread preserved at home. A summer typical dish, the cialledda is an excellent example of the poor and farm cuisine that is characteristic of the Apulian cities and Matera. At the beginning it was called “reaper breakfast” because it was consumed by the farmers before their long work-days in the sunny fields during summer. We know well the warm version of the cialledda, wintry and exclusively made of season vegetables, egg, bay, garlic, olives and extra virgin olive oil (inevitable and abundant!). today this dish is very appreciated by chefs and it gets served in bar and restaurants, for dinner or aperitif, with wine and cocktails.
SOME TIPS TO PREPARE CIALLEDDA
The essential ingredients of the traditional recipe to prepare the cialledda of Apulia, Salento or Matera are stale bread (choose the one with the soft inside of the bread and the crunchy crust), cucumbers, red onion, oregano and tomatoes. And then, unavoidable, a lot of olive oil!
Cut into slices or dice the bread and leave it in a bowl in cold water for some minutes (or in the tomatoes water, to be faithful to the original recipe) until it gets softened; after that, choose vegetables and seasonings, cut and put them together by seasoning with oil, salt and oregano. According to your preferences, you can also add peppers, black olives, basil ( find out how to take care of your basil on your balcony) or boiled potatoes. In some places this dish is served with some ice-cubes and mint leaves.
THERE IS NO CIALLEDDA WITHOUT CUCUMBER
The cucumber is undoubtedly the key ingredient of this ancient beloved recipe of the Apulian tradition. These vegetables, typical of the summer season, are really water-rich and refreshing, just like a cialledda dish must be. As well as being a perfect snack for summertime, by the sea or at the office (try to preserve them with come ice), cucumbers maintain their detoxifying and diuretic properties, also being rich of minerals and vitamins. It’s not a case if, as previously said, the old farmers used it at breakfast, with bread and tomatoes to face the efforts of the work in the fields. Thanks to silicon, miraculous metalloid which natural occurs in some plants, the cucumber act as natural vitamin supplement, fighting the tiredness and regulating the blood pressure. Are you looking for an alternative for cucumbers? As a real Apulian, choose the barattiere cucumber, a vegetable that is characteristic of Bari and Brindisi.
GRANNY’S TIP: IN WATER ONION IS LIGHTER!
Row onion flavors Cialledda by making it rare, but it can be hard to swallow. For this reason our grandmas used a very simple trick to make it lighter. Cut the onion and put into a big bowl of cold water and ice-cubes for about twenty minutes. Then make them drain, being careful about keeping them crunchy.
Now you only have to choose the wine! Cialledda and summer vegetables are in perfect harmony with a cool white wine glass.