Monday, June 18, 2007


So, Saturday night was the festival of San Ranieri here in Pisa. The main celebration was a huge street fair, and lighting up the windows all the buildings along the river Arno with candles (the Luminara). It's quite picturesque, you can read more about it here.

A bunch of us from the conference went into town to take part, including Enrico, who's Italian and did his undergrad in Pisa, and my friend Anish, with whom I plan to open a restaurant/microbrewery in Bangalore, India, after we both get tenure somewhere. Anyway, Enrico had been telling us about Cecina, a typical Pisan snack food, which is more-or-less a thin, savory, brick-oven pancake made with chickpea flour. It's made on a huge pan, and then cut into slices, and served on bread made from pizza dough as a sandwich. So we went to the most famous purveyor of this snack, waited in line for about an hour (LOTS of people come to the festival), and maybe it was the wait, or maybe it was the fact that we got a fresh, fresh slice, but damn, was it good. One of our group got it with jalapeno peppers on it, and this looked even better. It tastes actually quite similar to the Indian snack pakora, which is fried lentil flour dumplings, usually spiced up a bit.

You can find a recipe here.

Anish and I have some ideas for improvement before we serve it at our restaurant- basically, to make it more like a pakora- so before you put it in the oven, we think some finely chopped white onions, fresh green chilis, and cilantro should be mixed in with the dough. I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

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