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The Caterina de’ Medici Salad at Siena

The Caterina Salad (above) at Siena Ristorante Toscano is inspired by Caterina de’ Medici: grilled asparagus, vine ripe tomatoes, balsamic roasted portabello mushroom, Parmesan croutons and Texas goat cheese in a black summer truffle, balsamic vinaigrette.

According to legend, Caterina de’ Medici (below, left, 1519-1589) was one of the great food lovers of the Italian Renaissance. When she married King Henry II of France (in a political marriage that helped to align the Medici family of Florence with the Royal Court of France), she brought with her not only the political spoils of the rich and powerful Medici family but also the many culinary wonders of the Italian gastronomic Renaissance.

She has been credited with a number of innovations in French cuisine, including the use of the fork at the dinner table (previously, diners used their hands), the introduction of gelato, and — perhaps most significantly — the use of fresh greens and herbs.

For her now-famous salad, she would send the cooks out into the garden to pick “whatever herbs and vegetables” were fresh and ripe. Today, the “Insalata di Caterina” is still widely popular in Italy, where the ingredients vary according to the region and the season.

Here at Siena Ristorante Toscano, our Caterina Salad features some of the freshest ingredients available to us this time of year.

Come taste the Italian Renaissance at Siena Ristorante Toscano this weekend!

This just in: friend of Siena Ristorante Toscano, Italian food and wine writer Dr. Jeremy Parzen, Ph.D., will be speaking at our Tuscan Feast featuring the wines of Banfi on July 28. Click here for more information and to reserve.

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