Drawing up a menu The Silver Spoon Classic way
Our new book goes beyond just recipes - it tells you how to put together a menu fit for the most exacting diner
Anyone who has successfully negotiated a formal dinner menu at an Italian restaurant will know that Italians do things a little differently. “Traditionally, an Italian meal had five courses,” explains The Silver Spoon Classic, a new luxury edition of the legendary Italian cookbook, “an antipasto; a first course (primo piatto), which could be pasta, rice, or a soup; a main course (secondo), which was based on meat, fish, or eggs and a side of vegetables (contorno); and fresh fruit; with a dessert (dolce) to finish.”
Now, just because that’s the formal way of doing things, that doesn’t mean every Italian dinner table sits through all five courses. “Nowadays, an antipasto course is served before the first course only for special occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Easter, or when serving a particularly formal meal,” explains the new book. “More frequently the antipasto will take the place of the first course or, when served in a larger portion, it can also become a main course.”
However, that doesn’t mean you can entirely ignore the way dishes go together. “Simply following recipes well is sometimes not enough, as the success of your finished meal will depend on how the entire menu has been composed,” counsels the book. “A menu must be properly balanced so that each dish can be enjoyed to its best effect.
“It is important to balance the richness of the different courses in your meal. If you are planning to serve a robust main course, you need to balance this with lighter choices for the other courses. In a harmonious menu, it is advisable not to repeat the same main ingredient in the different courses you serve and also not to mix the styles of cooking too much—for example, a rustic first course should not be followed by too sophisticated a main course. It is also becoming quite common to serve a ‘piatto unico’ that could be selected from any of the different savory sections of the book, accompanied simply by steamed or raw vegetables and followed by fresh fruit or a dessert. It’s also traditional to serve a variety of cheeses after the main course and before the dessert.”
For greater detail on the kind of dishes you might include in such a meal order a copy of The Silver Spoon Classic, luxurious collection of the best recipes from the world's leading Italian cookbook - with all new photography and design.
First published in 1950, The Silver Spoon is a wide ranging compilation of traditional Italian dishes. In this all-new luxurious book, The Silver Spoon Classic features 170 of the very best-of-the-best recipes from Italy's culinary diverse regions. This new collection features exquisite new photography of the dishes housed in a sumptuous design and package, which makes for an ideal gift for the amateur chef. With dishes for all tastes and seasons, The Silver Spoon Classic is the definitive guide to preparing the most important, authentic, and delicious Italian recipes.