The Italian Academy of Cuisine, La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy (2009), page 851. Rizzoli Publications, Inc. Translated by Jay Hyams.
About the Book
This beast of a cookbook clocks in at 928 pages, and contains 2,000 regional Italian recipes. Its instructions are spartan, but the book is filled with bona fide hits. La Cucina comes about thanks to the hard work of the Italian Academy of Cuisine (founded in 1953), whose self-proclaimed primary purpose is, “the safeguarding of Italy’s culinary traditions.” Italy is a big country, and the food is vastly different from one region to the next. This book allows you to explore and celebrate those differences.
What’s the Dish?
This is a northern Italian drink from Lombardia, made from blended raw egg yolks, sugar, and white wine. Or you can skip the sugar. Or replace the white wine with lemon juice. In fact, the book basically says you can make rüssümada (a name which seems to have been influenced by Lombardia’s Swiss neighbors) however you’d like. The one made here used just the wine, sugar, and egg.
The book refers to this dish as an “ancient beverage-snack.” They also add that, “if you are concerned about salmonella or egg safety, then you should avoid this recipe, since the eggs are raw.”
Number of Attempts
None, or many, depending on which version of this dish you’re referring to.
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. This cocktail was also made during a rush of many other dishes being prepared for a large Mother’s Day feast. I suppose the biggest surprise was that everyone seemed to really enjoy this (including me).
One could say that the indifferent nature of the recipe is a flaw, but it was actually quite liberating.
How Was It?
Most of the drinkers were quick to compare it to a zabaione, with which it shares many qualities (though it uses a sweet wine rather than a straight white wine). It was sweet, creamy, and certainly worth trying.
Would I Make It Again?
Yes, under similar circumstances. If you have super-fresh eggs, and are cooking Italian food, it’s an easy thing to whip up and serve your guests while you’re finishing up dinner preparations. You probably won’t need more than one per person.