When a traditional snack becomes amuse bouche

I’m not the biggest meat fan when it comes to choosing. Lots of times I prefer to choose lighter things, or at least I don’t go into pork or other heavy stuff. It’s usually my last choice because of its fat.

Though I’m a skinny person and still I don’t seem to get that “half-life metabolism change” yet, with the exception of Christmas period when pork meat in Romania is a must, I usually go for the chicken, turkey and most recently duck. The restaurant has to be damn good and the dish has to be pretty famous in order for me to go in hungry and start with pork. As fat for me is not really mouth drooling I prefer not to take my chances and spend money on things I have a lot of chances not to eat, once it sits in front of me.

But when I visited Oradea I had to try the place of a chef in Romania, a great guy who regards food as an ancestral art; and meat preparation is his speciality: Chef Adrian Hădean. His restaurant sits in an area that is a little bit secluded around the centre of the city and it’s named after his greatest love, of course: Meatic.

Amuse Bouche Meatic

I usually post info about the food I eat in different restaurants in my own series: “Finger licking in Romania” which you can find on my blog in the series section but I consider that this guy and his inventions and/or reinterpretations deserve a special place among my articles. Moreover, this is not a review of a restaurant but more likely a description of a certain “snack” with which I recommend you to start if you ever get the chance to visit his restaurant. It is also a written recipe that you can try at home if you ever get tired of the old, classical “bruschetta”, given you manage to find the two traditional, Romanian ingredients that he is using for this.

Amuse Bouche Chef Adi Hădean

After receiving the classical, nice reception by the waiter, getting to know each other with 2-3 jokes and the exchange of the thought that “we came here as in a pilgrimage” the guy understood our wishes completely. We were pretty full from the previous meal (as much as I’d enjoy eating, there’s only this much I can eat) so we wanted to skip the steaks this time and went heads first with “Pită picurată cu clisă“. Yeah, that’s in Romanian and I’ll explain it in a bit. Thing is I’ve already seen this on his blog and decided to start with it in his restaurant, in order to calibrate my tastes.

Pită picurată cu clisă” is basically a slice of bread on which you don’t use the traditional olive oil in order to get it somehow moist and spiced up. No sir. You take a good piece of the traditional, smoked ham, we Romanians prepare (which is basically the nice, juicy pork fat that sits right under the skin – smoked in different types of wood smoke), you slice it up in small cubicles without cutting the skin so that it stays in one piece, and then you fry it on the grill until it starts dripping things. Juices. And while is sizzling hot and dripping, you put the slice of bread under it in order to collect. Let it collect…

After that, you use a nice amount of “Brânză de burduf“, another traditional thing we have around these parts, and you just spread it on top of the slice o’bread. Remember, use a decent amount, not a thin layer like it’s a famine or something. “Brânză de burduf” is a certain type of sheep cheese, which they also call it “fermented cheese“. It’s a pretty stingy sort (you can confuse it for smelly socks let’s say), not for the “ladies”, pretty salty too, depends on how you know to choose it when you buy it. If you pass around the City of Sibiu (that’s central Romania), you’ll be able to buy some from the local producers right as you exit the city and start climbing towards the City of Brașov. They also have the more “commercial sort” which is basically the same one, not so stinky, and nicely packed in some tree bark, for aroma and marketing.

On top of this cheese, you put 4-6 halves of lightly grilled cherry tomatoes. This is to give it the “borderless” look and taste. But immediately you throw on the slice of bread some finely chopped green onion AND some finely cut grilled ham from the piece you used to drip the bread with.

In the end, you should have these nice, big, crutton looking slice of bread (as an extra you can also grill the slice of bread before starting the assembly).

Amuse Bouche Pita picurata

Amuse Bouche Pita picurata & vin

Maybe I’m subjective, as I’m a Romanian and I can stand all of these, let’s call them, “traditional” ingredients… but it’s fucking delicious. Sorry, but it is. It can go well with a red, strong wine on the side but it can also be a fast dish, just to introduce you to the strong, main course, going along with a glass of “pălincă” – that’s one of the traditional spirits produced in Romania.

Thing is that if you are that kind of food passionate and you happen to want to come to our country, and maybe you’ll visit Oradea because Hey! it’s really worth it, you should get accustomed to our tastes by trying this. There’s a lot more in the menu to explore and it will surely resonate with you if you are a meat lover (sorry vegetarians, not really a place for you).

And as another tip, if you happen to be in the area…

Amuse bouche pavlova

Desert is great too!

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