Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Saltie co-owner Caroline Fidanza swooned over the pine-grilled mussels at Brooklyn’s Roebling Tea Room. Now we want to hear from Roebling chef Dennis Spina about what he’s recently adored. Dennis?
Who: Dennis Spina, chef of the Roebling Tea Room, Brooklyn
What: Roasted caciocavallo cheese
Where: Roman’s, Brooklyn
“[Roman’s chef David Gould] takes a cazuela pan and he cuts caciocavallo cheese real thin, and puts oregano and vinegar on it and throws it into a really hot wood-burning stove, and then you dip crusty bread into it. It’s not a really goopy fondue, it’s kind of like the top of a macaroni and cheese, but fancy.”
Chef Gould responds:
“It’s a Southern Italian cow’s-milk cheese. It’s a cheese that’s covered in wax, and it’s pulled and stretched into a big ball that hangs on a rope. It’s very similar to provolone. We just slice it thin and put it into a cast-iron pan. We sprinkle onto it a little bit of housemade red vinegar and a little bit of dry oregano, and then we roast it in our wood oven really kind of hot and fast: Two minutes at 700 degrees. It bubbles and melts and gets really srtringy, then we bring it to the table. We serve it with toasted bread.”