So we’re in Naples, and the rain starts pouring down. We look for cover, and there it is, a canvas awning. Over a Taralli Caldi stand.
When it’s a bit cold, your eyes focus on “Caldi”, hot. So we peek in, and there are these little bagle-like thingies in a glass box, heated (you can tell from the steaminess of it all).
I told Martha to buy some. Surprisingly, she did. They were cheap, something like three for a Euro. They were good, too. It was as if they spiced up a bagel with some fennel seeds and olive oil, then baked the ever-loving crap outta it. Yes, these things are dry like prezels. Folks from the area use them as teething rings. For their babies, one presumes.
Anyway, home in California we tried making some Taralli. We used a recipe from the book Campania Region – An Italian Food Legacy. You can see the results over there to the left.
They aren’t hard to make. These weren’t as good as the ones we had in Naples, but weren’t bad for the first effort. We threw some red pepper flakes in there as well. You can’t hurt anything with red pepper flakes, I figure.
Then we made a rope outta the dough and tried to form them into circles. They came out at various thicknesses and sizes.
We are not good at forming taralli. But we pushed on anyway.
Like bagels, taralli are cooked twice. First you boil them until they rise to the surface, and then you put them into a 350 degree oven for a half hour or so until they get brown.
Then you take them out and eat them. Really, they’re much better warm. And they go decently with wine, especially if you need your palate cleansed between tastes.
I’ve since found out that there are many ways to make taralli. Some use sugar or wine in them. Over at Babbo, Gina DiPalma makes Taralli al Peperoncino with pepper flakes and vino. Kyle Phillips makes taralli with honey and yeast. And here’s a recipe and historical information on The Taralli of Gambatesa
And to top it all off, Ms. Adventures in Italy brings you up close and personal to a Pugliese Tarallificio
Wow, that’s a lot of variation. That’s what’s interesting about being a culinary traveler. There’s stuff out there that’s evolved so much you find countless variations to ping your palate into new worlds. Mmmmm.