The most famous product of this beautiful region is a cow milk cheese called “fontina” used in many recipes, but also eaten alone: grated, sliced, shaved, melted, it’s always tasty: it’s pale yellow in colour and has a slightly rubbery texture. Other delicacies of Aosta valley are typical of mountain regions: many kinds of cured meats (pork, goat, beef) and cheese. The most famous is the “lardo” from the town of Arnad; lardo is a fat part of pork from the shoulder joint, and it resembles a very fat bacon. It is cured, salted, and pickled in brine. It can be cut in slices and eaten alone, shaved on hot fried potatoes, chopped finely with garlic and parsley and spread on a slice of bread, or put in a nourishing warming soup. Some people eat it with a little honey! A famous dish is “fonduta” (or “fondue”, like in Switzerland), and it is made of melted cheese with eggs and flour; the cheese is kept warm in a small terra-cotta pot that has a tealight below, and you dip toasted slices of bread. The recipe I’m giving you is very easy and it’s called:
Cotolette Alla Valdostana (cutlets Aosta valley’s style):
- 4 veal cutlets (if you don’t want to use veal/beef, you can use turkey or pork: they have to be as large and as thick as a veal cutlet)
- 4 slices of fontina cheese (1/2 cm thick)
- 4 slices of prosciutto cotto (1/2 cm thick)
- White flour (all purpose)
- Butter for frying
Pound well the cutlets till they are thin and a little broader: put in a slice of cheese and slice of ham, and fold the cutlet in two, as if you were closing a book; use toothpicks to keep the closed. Dip them in white flour and fry them in butter. You can also dip them in beaten eggs and then in breadcrumbs, made with a few days old good Italian bread. I’ve read about “garlic flavoured breadcrumbs” and such - I think it’s one of those things which are found anywhere but in Italy…!
Serve these cutlets with boiled potatoes, dressed with a little vinegar, chopped parsley and olive oil, with pickled vegetables, or sliced lardo.