Carrot and celery sticks with ranch dip it is not. This is crudité – Italian style. Like a lot of Italian food, it is very simple, and thus completely dependent on great ingredients. Pinzimonio is best in early Spring when young vegetables are sweet and crisp, or then again in late Autumn after the olive harvest when you have the first olio nuovo (new oil) to work with. In fact, one can argue that Pinzimonio is obligatory with olio nuovo. Composed of raw veggies: carrot, celery, fennel and perhaps artichokes (feel free to add radishes and cherry tomatoes) and olive oil – the success depends on top quality ingredients, and on the salt. Salt is the secret to success. A thick slurry with plenty of fragrant olive oil and a generous dose of herbed salt catapults this simple dish into another stratosphere. It is ironic that the best version of pinzimonio yet, is the one at the “Panzano Butcher’s” Dario DOC. What sets this version apart from all the tired celery and carrot you find at the typical aperitivo buffet is the generous pinch of rosemary flecked salt lurking at the bottom of the olive oil dish; it brings out the flavors of the vegetables and the oil.
Recommended: Dario DOC, Panzano in Chianti