We went to a soirée des courges (Hallowe’en) at a friend’s house on Saturday night. I notice that Hallowe’en in Switzerland is refreshingly absent from the stores. Maybe the commercialism was refreshingly absent because we still showed up to a friend’s house for pumpkin soup. Cheese, wine, de la viande sechée–and pumpkin soup. Mmmmmm.
Our friend told us that a restaurant just up the street from us in Lausanne was having a pasta party every Tuesday evening. We went to check it out.
I think it’s a relatively new restaurant in Lausanne. We’d actually been there before because we like the atmosphere and the name (Ma Mère M’a Dit: My Mother Told Me), The food is quite good too–certainly worth going out.
On Tuesdays, their fixed menu was salade mixte (mixed salad), pâtes au goût du jour (pasta of the day), and dessert for 29 CHF (Swiss francs). I was surprised at the salad. My mother would definitely have approved. When my parents were here this summer visiting the German part of Switzerland, they said all they had to eat was meat and cheese. “And do you know that they think just lettuce is a salad?”
This salad was more than just lettuce. Decorated with endives and tomatoes, textured with purple cabbage, and onions sliced so thin there was no where for the flavour to hide, it was surprisingly large. American-serving large. What can I say about that?
When we finished the salad, the pasta arrived. We’d both ordered the farfalle au saumonn safrané. It was simple. The best kind of simple: for purity of taste. Bow-tie pasta, chives, and chunks of real salamon (I think safrané is something to do with safron…) tossed in light olive oil.
I sprinkled on parmesan cheese. Ludo clucked. He says there is some unwritten Italian rule about putting cheese on a fish pasta. He didn’t know what though–put it on? or not? In the end, it is probably whatever you like. But I’ll ask my new friend Lara over at Just a Pinch of Salt.
As we were eating, a Spanish couple came into the restaurant. I noted their language before I tuned them into the background. At one point though, I overheard a word that caused me to remark: “There seems to be a word that is the same–not matter what language: Facebook!”
We finished with crème brulée–with vanilla from Madagasgar.
Good god! I think it was too much food. The servings were large enough to have shared everything. I’ll have to remember my camera next time. We took picutures with Ludo’s phone, but with the atmosphere (low lights and everything), they didn’t turn out.
Oh well. There’s always next time!
I’m finally catching up with your site and just came across this post. Your Ludo is correct, cheese and seafood just don’t mix in Italy. Although, like so many unwritten Italian rules, it seems as though exceptions can be made. I’ve been told that under absolutely no conditions is it allowed to serve cheese with any kind of seafood: pasta, risotto, you name it.
However, I’ve made a recipe for Spaghetti with Mussels & Pecorino that was handed down through an Italian family over many years, and I’ve watched with a mixture of horror and pleasure as my Venetian relatives topped their seafood risotto with plenty of parmigiano. So, when it comes down to it, when in Italy if you’d like to be considered a respectable human being do not ever ask for cheese with your seafood, but in the confines of your own home… sprinkle away!