Simplicity often underscores the ultimate in style, design and of course food. And let’s be honest the Italians have mastered the elegance of simplicity in every regard. Pinzimonio is a prime example of this – the freshest vegetables available alongside the highest quality extra virgin olive oil you can afford, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Although some say that the tradition of Pinzimonio originated in Tuscany, surely due to the truly superb olive oil, history notes that the dish was conceived in Rome. Romans considered a diet of vegetables to be noble and during the time of the Renaissance heavily garnished elaborate dishes with raw vegetables which were consumed by dipping them into the sauces of these dishes. With the evolution of time, Romans dipped their vegetables into the oil of Lazio specifically olive oil from Alatri or Velletri.
Pinzimonio is especially popular in Italy in the fall when the first olive oil of the season is pressed. This is not an actual recipe but a set of guidelines, as all that is needed are fresh vegetables and wonderful olive oil seasoned with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. You will find that some enjoy adapting the dish by adding a bit of Balsamic vinegar to the oil, but purists would consider this an abomination.
The fundamental premise of Pinzimonio makes this the perfect appetizer. Select market vegetables depending upon the time of year to reflect the season. I especially like to serve Pinzimonio before a lengthy Sunday dinner when perhaps we may be lighting the forno to make pizza or before bowls brimming with pasta are brought to the table.
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- A variety of raw seasonal vegetables - washed, possibly peeled, trimmed and cut into serving sizes.
- Extra virgin olive oil, the freshest and highest quality you can afford
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Assemble the prepared fresh vegetables on a large serving platter, displaying the contrast in color and texture artfully.
- Fill one or several smaller ramekins with the extra virgin olive oil, season with the sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.
- Present to your guests along with a nice glass of wine.