Best Meals 2012: Scarbolo’s Frasca

Our 2012 delivered more than a fair share of opulent meals. But looking back on our annus gastronomicus, the most memorable repasts — more often than not — stand out in my mind for the purity of their ingredients and the marvel of discovery, like Georgia P’s first encounter with burrata and ripe peaches (above) or this meal at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Scarbolo’s Frasca…

Best Meals 2012: Valter Scarbolo’s Frasca (Lauzacco, province of Udine, April).

Valter Scarbolo makes wines in Grave and so there was no way for me to include him in the Colli Orientali del Friuli 2012 blogger project itinerary. But there was no way that I was coming to Friuli without spending an evening with him at his amazing Frasca. I’ll have to recount our conversation on Pinot Grigio and his 1995 trip — his first — to the U.S. in another post when I have more time. In the meantime, here’s what we ate…

As James Bond would say, “if it’s Prosciutto d’Osvaldo, you must have been expecting me.”

Rosa di Gorizia (Rose of Gorizia), a radicchio cultivar unique to Gorizia that resembles a rose.

White asparagus is in season. Valter served it raw, thinly sliced, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and accompanied by delicately marinated goose breast. “It had to be extremely fresh,” he said, “to serve it raw like this.”

Riso nero Venere (black Venus rice) is a hybrid of Asian and Italian cultivars and, besides being delicious, is purported to have health-enhancing properties. Valter makes his with formadi frant, the truly unique, piquant cheese made from discarded and otherwise imperfect cheese — an ingredient that appears repeatedly in his cooking.

I asked Valter to show me the rice uncooked.

His My Time is always a treat to look forward to. The 2009 was unctuous and richer than previous vintages I’d tasted. And while it will undoubtedly become more elegant with some bottle age, its more muscular expression paired well with blood-rare pan-roasted and thinly sliced Prussian rumpsteak served with herbed formadi frant and montasio cheeses.

I’m posting this from the Colli Orientali del Friuli where the COF2012 trip has just begun… Stay tuned!

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