Cesare Casella

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A number of years ago I invited a bunch of  top chefs up to my place in Fourchu, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (and what chefs…Dan Barber, Jonathan Waxman, Cesare Casella, Candy Argondizza, David Pasternak, Nils Noren, Floyd Cardoz and Anne Burrell). Fourchu is my family’s home village and I wanted the chefs to go gaga over the local lobster.  Our village is way out on the southeastern tip of the island…maybe 750 miles from the east coast shoreline.  The lobsters are muscularly and mineral  flavored, ocean tasting, and sublime.  The chef trip was famously written up in a fine Departures article by Peter Kaminsky. The chefs were impressed with the lobster but it was a midnight run to a returning crab boat with fisherman Gordon MacDonald that really had them fired up.

Snow crab from the northeast is an exquisite delicacy that few people get to taste fresh. The snow crab is harvested far out in the ocean with overnight trips are the norm and come from the depths of pristine water. The problem is getting the crabs back before they turn black from the bends from being caught at the deep bottom of the ocean. Triage is usually done by immediately freezing the crab on its arrival on shore. Frozen crab is very delicious but nothing can beat fresh.

Cape Breton has breathtaking scenery and world class fishing. If you live in a lobster or crab village like  Fourchu as I do in the summers, you can meet the crab boat and have the sea water boiling back home. Meeting the boat is as much a social event as shopper’s delight. One buys the crab for $2 a pound at the dock and catches up on gossip and then quickly gets on with the ritual. That means 1) chipping the head off  the crab 2) pulling the hard center shell off 3) breaking it into two halves 4) cleaning out all the yellow gunk. 5) running home and putting it into the boiling water or the freezer for after the season closes.

No butter, no sauce just explosive crab taste. Sensational!  Try it frozen if you find it in your local fish shops or take a trip up to Cape Breton.  Both are absolutely worth the effort.

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“Working with The International Culinary Center, Dean Cesare Casella-il maestro di tutti, with his signature pocketful of rosemary-has put together an encyclopedic user’s-guide to the elements, techniques, and, most important, the mouthfeel and flavor of Italian cooking. In doing so, they have elevated the ordinary textbook to an art form. This spectacular vision of all that is Italian and delicious will take its place among the handful of most used books in my collection.”

-Mario Batali, chef, author, entrepreneur

“An exciting and comprehensive look at the Italian kitchen. This book 
makes me want to be a student again!“

-Anne Burrell, 
chef and TV personality

Congratulations to our Dean of Italian Studies, Cesare Casella and the Italian teaching staff on the publication of our new textbook, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine. It is a comprehensive resource for all Italian techniques as well as being quite beautiful.

I want to thank our writer, Stephanie Lyness for the lucid prose, Jessica Botta for her technical direction, and our “court photographer” Matthew Septimus for his inimitable and luscious photographs. Stewart, Tabori and Chang…thanks for another great book!

Learn more at The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine. If you love to cook Italian, you cant live without it!

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