Last week I was one of the last people to participate in a cooking course at the Tricolore Monti cooking school.
Monti is the 12th rione (district) of Rome sitting in the shadow of that little old amphitheatre called the Colosseum. The school has now sadly closed. Well actually, the business has gone back to what it started out as – a gourmet panini shop (which I’m yet to try!)
I was fortunate enough to receive a voucher for a course for my birthday and with the school on its last legs, I was grateful to get in before close.
The course – a seafood masterclass – was one of the greatest cooking experiences I’ve had in Italy to date.
While other courses I’ve taken have been super fun and delicious, learning to cook seafood is a technical feat.
The class was made up of 8 people and the premises were fitted out perfectly with everyone custodian to their own station, stove top, oven, knives and apparatus. I felt like a contestant on Master Chef!
Now, I love seafood. I can even cook a decent couple of dishes. But never have I had a whole raw fish slapped in front of me, eyes staring and faced with the task of cleaning and filleting it. By the time I prepare to cook fish at home, there aren’t any fins or eyes still hanging about!
And so step by step we were taught how to clean, descale and fillet two types of fish – mackerel (sgombro)and sea bass (orata).
Here’s what I created (and then of course devoured):
Tartare di Sgombro con burrata e pomodori secchi
Mackerel Tartare served with burrata cheese and semi dried tomatoes
Risotto con Cozze, Vongole e Nero di Seppia
Risotto with mussels, clams and squid ink
Orata con con pelle croccante e sbriciolata di agrumi e erbe
Crispy skin Sea Bream with citrus and herb crumb
While it was practical and fantastic all round, learning to make tartare was the absolute stand out moment for me. Being one of my favourite seafood dishes, I had never contemplated trying my hand at it, but now I can’t wait to try it at home.
I learnt so much in the 3 hours and enjoyed every minute of it. A truly amazing experience!
Signing off from Trastevere