The Splendid Table makes my heart happy.
Lynne's Renaissance Wine Syrup
May 31, 2008
Copyright 2006 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Deep garnet colored, deep and lush in flavor, this syrup steps straight out of the banqueting scenes of Italy's golden age. Drizzle it over chocolate desserts, anything made with cream, from Panna Cotta to ice cream, and over seafood, meats, rice, pasta and vegetables. Don't be surprised by the spices. Yes, these were several of the plethora of unexpected spices which made food taste Italian in the era before the tomato and corn came from the Americas.
A little history: Glamour, magnificence, grandstanding and ruthless politicking hallmark banqueting in the Italian Renaissance. The food and the table were theater, art gallery, and power play all rolled into one. Only nobility could fling around rare finds and sugar and spice into nearly every dish they served.
Spicy syrups of all sorts gilded meats and seafood, meat pies and pastas, and even sweets. This recipe comes out of the court of the Este Dukes of Ferrara in the early 1500's. Then, Lucrezia Borgia reigned over the banquets of her husband, Alphonso, heir to one of the most powerful duchies of the north.
Cook to Cook: If using leftover wine, reduce amounts of other ingredients in proportion to the amount of wine you have.
6 whole cloves
1 generous tablespoon each whole fennel seeds and whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 bottle full-bodied red wine (3-1/4 cups) - Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Barolo, Cabernet Sauvignon
1-1/2 cups sugar
Generous pinch salt
1. Combine all the spices in a mortar or a blender of food processor. Bruise them to open up flavors, but don't totally crush them. Turn them into a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or skillet. Add the wine, sugar and salt.
2. Boil 10 minutes or until bubbles look glossy and your spoon or spatula leaves a narrow trail in the pan when you run it across the bottom. This shows the syrup is thick enough. As it boils, stir occasionally and scrape down the sides of the pan.
3. Set a fine strainer over a bowl, pour the syrup through it. Cool and refrigerate. Use at room temperature.
Now I wonder how long it keeps and whether lamb roasted in it would be tasty.