Sunday, March 12, 2006

say cheese

an unseasonably warm day, a long walk across the gowanus, from park slope to carroll gardens. a chance to check out caputo's on court street and 3rd place. inside i find one of the remaining italian food purveyors that still line court street as you head down from atlantic on court. pastry shops, green grocers, pizzerias, and butchers. caputo's reminds me of the places i frequented in downtown manhattan with my mother when i was a child (russo's, raffetto's). they have freezers full of ravioli, gnocchi, and tortelloni. shelves of capers, and tapenades. refrigerated display cases full of cheeses and salamis. and on an open table, along with the olives, bowls full of fresh mozzarella, sitting in vats of water.

i bought a small ball of cheese. "salty?" the guy asks. when i nod yes, he picks up the cheese with silver tongs and swirls it in a vat of cloudy salt water. i ogle everything, but try to keep in mind that i am leaving in a few days for a trip. i restrain myself by buying only a bag of pumpkin tortelloni, a bag of pumpkin gnocchi, the cheese, and a fine looking crusty italian bread.

the pumpkin gnocchi i ate tonight as i watched "sopranos." as i emptied them into the boiling water, i read the list of ingredients and was confused to see "amaretto cookies" listed as part of the filling. sure enough they were almost cloyingly sweet--potato pockets filled with cheese and...cookies? but cut with the acidic tomato sauce and topped with peas and pine nuts, they were pretty tasty.

best of all, though, was the sandwich i made upon my return from caputo's yesterday:

1 hunk of crusty italian bread
1/2 ripe avocado
2 thick slices of creamy fresh caputo's mozzarella

break bread open, split into 2 halves
spoon soft avocado onto each piece and mash into the bread
top with a slice of cheese

savor. devour.
if necessary, repeat.

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