Category: Weekend Special
To welcome the tens of thousands of National Restaurant Association Show attendees, the Weekend Special at Merlo on Maple will follow a similar menu degustazione (menu tasting) concept we used for our Mother’s Day special. This is the ideal way to get a taste of what makes Chef Silvia’s authentic Bolognese food so appealing.
As inspiration for this weekend’s menu tasting, Silvia looked to Piedmont (a northwest region of Italy known for its wine production) and put together an incredible combination of flavors. Specifially, she drew inspiration from the hills of Langhe, famous for the wine, cheeses, and truffles it produces. Using authentic ingredients applied to old recipes, Silvia has recreated the tastes and feelings present in the best food one can find in Piedmont.
We present to you our very special 9-course menu! If you’re ready to dine with us, click … Read More »
When we think of mothers, the one thing that immediately comes to mind is the best comfort food we can imagine. What can we say? We have food on the brain.
We’re celebrating mothers this weekend, so instead of a traditional weekend special, Merlo on Maple will feature some of the best comfort food Italy has to offer.
We will have a special tasting menu inspired by the typical cuisine from the south of Italy. It differs slightly from our typical Northern Italian cuisine, but it remains Italian, authentic, and delicious.
For the Mother’s Day tasting menu, Chef Silvia will offer 5 courses.
First Course: Fave Fresche, Pecorino Sardo e Cipollotti
Fresh fava beans, pecorino from Sardinio, and spring onions
Second Course: Fiori di Zucca in Pastella
Zucchini flowers, buffalo mozzarella, and anchovies in tempura
Third Course: Pasta Imbottita (pictured)
Pastry dough filled with homemade semola macaroni in … Read More »
Guineafowl is a bird you may not know much about as its native continent is Africa. But over time it’s been domesticated in other places, so more and more people now know about its taste. The flavor of guineafowl lies somewhere between chicken and turkey, and when prepared correctly it’s like pheasant, only juicier.
The Mistress of the Inn
La Locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn) is a classic three-act play that was penned by Carlo Goldoni in 1753. A playwright who was beloved for his mixture of wit and honesty, Goldoni wrote some of Italy’s favorite plays. And of those, La Locandiera is often regarded as his masterpiece.
The play’s protagonist, a coquettish heroine, prepared special dishes and sauces for her guests. Among those dishes was the Veal and Guineafowl meal that will be this weekend’s special at Merlo on Maple. … Read More »
Michele Savonarola was a 15th-century Italian physician and scientist who lived in the Veneto region of Italy. A prolific author who wrote many important medical texts, Savonarola was also professor at the University of Padova and the University of Ferrara.
Chef Luisa Silvia found the recipe for Savonarola’s favorite dish that was prepared for him during a gala in his honor: Storione in Acqua Fervente con Capperi e Uvette (translated: Sturgeon with capers and raisins).
Silvia will interpret the recipe using her world-class experience, instinct, and sensitivity. The sturgeon is a fresh 21-pounder, and it will be accompanied by white asparagus that’s currently in season in the Veneto region. This dish is quite popular in Italy, and we’re excited to bring it to Chicago.
Pondering a visit to Merlo on Maple this weekend? We can’t wait to see you! Make your reservation here.
For this weekend’s special, Executive Chef Silvia Marani was inspired by a menu (click picture to enlarge) that she found in Biblioteca Gastronomica Academia Barilla.
This menu dates all the way back to 1883, at which time it was prepared for the wedding between Prince Tommaso Savoia Genova and Isabelle di Bavaria in the castle of Nympfenburg.
Chef Silvia was especially impressed by one of the courses of this incredible dinner known by it’s original French name as “salmi de becasses au truffles.”
Seeing that Chef Silvia was lucky enough to import the extremely rare woodcock from England, she jumped at the opportunity to prepare this dish.
The procedure for making salmi can only be applied to the most succulent and flavorful of meats such as woodcock.
It is perfect for lovers of game meat as it is known for being nutritious and delicate … Read More »
Bigoli is a traditional pasta from the Veneto region of Italy. The pasta can be traced all the way back to the early 16th century to a book called Libreto de Tutte le Cose che se Manzano.
It was penned by Johannes Michael Savonarola, the grandson of Girolamo Savonarola. Girolamo was a famous friar and philosopher who was burned at the stake at the end of the 15th century because of his liberal leanings.
But back to a more pleasant topic! The dish is prepared using duck from La Belle Farm of Sullivan County, New York. The duck is naturally lower in fat and grown slowly to produce a richer and tastier bird. It’s accompanied with celery, onions, carrots, and Valpolicella wine.
Ready to try this amazing dish? Click here to reserve your seat at Merlo on Maple.
For this weekend’s special, Executive Chef Silvia Marani was inspired by a trip that she and Giampaolo took some years ago to the Amalfi Coast.
They were fortunate enough to be the guests of good friends of theirs that are part of a historical family of the region.
Seeing that the area is abundant with seafood, the hosts prepared an incredible pasta paired with crustaceans called “crostacei e scialatielli“.
(This pasta is also popular in the Basilicata and Calabria regions of Italy, however it is paired with a different sauce).
The pasta itself is handmade and shaped in the form of a smaller, thicker taglioline.
Chef Silvia will prepare the pasta by mixing durum flour with milk, pecorino, extra virgin olive oil and basil and then top the dish off with a delicious seafood-based sauce made from delicious and extremely rare gamberi rossi, langostine and … Read More »
For this weekend’s special, Executive Chef Silvia Marani was inspired by a recipe from the Italian Renaissance written by an anonymous author.
The name of the recipe is Caponi e Carne in Limonia and was originally based on Arab texts dating as far back as the 13th century!
One of the most notable occasions on which it was served was in 1368 in Milan as a seventh course at the magnificent wedding banquet for Violante Visconti (daughter of the King of England) and Lionetto d’Anversa, Duke of Clarence.
Chef Silvia will be using cappone and veal roasted in lard and onions. The resulting broth will be thickened with egg yolks and an almond and Prosciutto di Parma pesto, finished and scented with lemon juice. The dish will be accompanied by a potato stuffed with gratinated morel mushrooms and a side of quail eggs … Read More »
Hunting hare has been a popular pastime for centuries in Northern Italy as well as England in the allowed season.
Executive Chef Silvia Marani fondly remembers the times that her father’s hunter friends would present one as a gift to her family. In order to prepare the hare, her mother would refer to a traditional Northern Italian recipe called Lepre in Salmi – Jugged Hare (“jugged” refers to the method of preparing the meat).
It is common to accompany the dish with polenta, however Chef Silvia will be adding her own touch to the recipe by preparing it instead with lasagnette (pappardelle) enriched with the sauce obtained from the preparation of the meat.
The hare, imported exclusively from England, is cut into pieces and marinated in a full-bodied red wine, vegetables, herbs and spices, then stewed for four hours and finished with grappa … Read More »
For this weekend’s special, Executive Chef Silvia Marani was inspired by a famous French chef by the name of Henri-Paul Pellaprat (1869-1952), often called the father of modern French cooking.
Pellaprat wrote many influential cookbooks, the most famous of them being “L’Art Culinaire Moderne”, in which he created a risotto recipe in honor of the famous Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi.
The dish centers around fresh morel mushrooms, accompanied by Prosciutto di Parma and finished with asparagus tips. You can expect that the version Luisa Silvia will prepare will have the additonal touch of authentic Bolognese cuisine that you always experience in our restaurant!
Craving this special? Reserve your table at Merlo on Maple.