Today we take you to Oltenia, in the south, where leek is a staple produce and largely used in typical dishes.
Today we take you
to Oltenia, a Romanian region bordered by the Danube, Southern Carpathians and
Olt river. Leek is a staple produce of the region. It is largely used in
Oltenia's typical dishes. Proof of that is the fact that some of the food
farmers in Oltenia's Dolj County among other things have been granted
certifications for such traditional products as Oltenian pressed cheese with
leek or Oltenian cured white cheese with leek.
have their staple and most popular dishes. One such dish is leek with olives.
We need 4 or 5 stalks of leek, 200 grams of black olives, oil, salt and tomato
Peel the leek, then cut it in rounds, about 3
or 4 centimeters long. Slightly sauté the leek in a little bit of oil, then put
it to the boil with a little bit of salt, or put the leek to the boil without
previously sautéing it. Boil the black olives separately for a couple of
minutes, with the water brought to boiling point one or twice to reduce the
olives' content of salt. Then add the olives in the pot where the leek is
boiling. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and salt to taste. You need around
half an hour to cook the leek-based dish, which is usually served cold. You can
also add meat, and the dish you cook can be, for instance, pork tongue with
leek and black olives.
Boiled leek can
also be used as a base for other dishes where chicken or fish is used. For the
oven-baked fish with leek, for instance, you need 4 or 5 leek stalks. Peel the
leek, then cut it in thin slices. Set it to boil in a little bit of water and
salt, together with a bell pepper, finely schopped. In the pot where all the
vegetables boiled, add a tablespoon of tomato paste, a little bit of oil, basil
and finely-shredded dill, pepper and salt to taste. Arrange the mix in an oven
dish, then on top of it place the fish fillet. Oven-bake for about 20 to 30
minutes until the fish browns.
The region of Oltenia also boasts staple dishes where
no leek is used. For instance, we have the stuffed cabbage in a pumpkin, the
plainfields stew or the Oltenian stew, with beef or sausages. For the minced
meat cabbage rolls in a pumpkin, we need one such pumpkin. Remove the seeds.
Lightly sauté two finely chopped onions in oil. Add a cup of rice and a little
bit of tomato paste. As soon as everything cools, mix the onion and the rice
into a kilo of chopped pork, with a little bit of ground pepper and salt to
taste. Spread the cabbage leaves, having previously removed the thick veins.
Add the mix and roll the leaves, preparing the typical sarmale. Boil the
minced meat cabbage rolls for about an hour, then arrange them inside the
pumpkin. Place pieces of gammon between them and two or three little thyme
sprigs. Oven-bake the pumpkin for two hours, on medium to low heat. Serve the
cabbage rolls straight away with sour cream and polenta. They best go with a
glass of red wine, even with a glass of zaibar, a sortof wine
made of ungrafted grapevine. Enjoy!