At the end of 2014 I was working in England, away from my husband and family. It was winter, and when the holiday season started, my husband decided to fly from Brazil and we both went to Italy, to join my sister in law and her family for a typical italian Christmas – and by that I mean two days of huge amounts of beautiful and tasty food and and countless glasses of wine.
On the day after Christmas, still stuffed from the feast we had, we decided to walk around Trieste, where they live. This region of Italy has a katabatic wind called Bora, and although what we experienced wasn’t anywhere close to the gales they have during that season, after a short walk around the marina it just got too windy for a typical Brazilian couple like us. That was when we discovered a small cantina, very similar to what we call a “boteco” in Brazil, and decided to go in to run away from the cold.
Once inside, the typical aromas of a “boteco” reached us – beer, wine, and food. Looking around, there were so many elderly people that I was immediately sure the place would sell the most simple and delicious food around. We ordered a couple of drinks, and eventually forgot that we were still feeling full. Actually, at that moment we could swear that we were starving for the last couple of days. We ordered the most delicious appetizers that were on display on the balcony.
Everything from tomato on toast to bacallao mantecado. But the best of all ended up being a simple aubergine parmigiana in a very rich tomato sauce, and with a copious amount of cheese. I can still taste those deep fried aubergines – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
This recipe I shared is a healthier version of that indulgent dish I tried while walking around Trieste. Those unplanned experiences we have while traveling are usually the ones that end up sticking on our minds, and food often takes us back to such remarkable moments.