Dear friends of ours recently moved into a new home and invited us for a housewarming party. Laura, who immigrated from Romania to the U.S. about six years ago, cooked an absolutely delicious traditional meal. This was the first time I had been introduced to authentic Romanian food.
When we arrived, the countertops were full of cured sausages, chicken liver, potatoes, bacon, onion, garlic, mamaliga (polenta), olive oil, cucumbers, olives, cured bacon and a variety of cheeses.
They were all mouthwatering ingredients and the garlic cloves were almost the size of my palm.
Soon after we arrived, the potatoes were boiling, the chicken liver was simmering and she was sautéing onions with bacon. The house smelled fantastic!
As she cooked, the guests enjoyed a plate of cheeses, cured meats, cucumber cubes, olives, radishes and fresh sliced bread. Once she finished, all eight of us sat down together to enjoy the plentiful feast. (Yes, there were only eight people for this giant meal.)
Garlic chicken liver served with polenta is called ‘Ficatei cu Mamaliguta.’ The sauce, which is poured over the top of the meat as a final touch before eating, was made from minced garlic, olive oil and carbonated water. And in the mamaliga (polenta), we added a sour tasting cream (not sour cream) and branza framantata (salty cheese). The sausages are called ‘carnati’ and the potato dish is called ‘cartofi taranesti.’
After engorging ourselves on this fanfare of deliciousness, Laura brought out dessert, which was a variation on ‘millefeuille’ and more like a Napoleon French pastry.
I may or may not have needed to unbutton the top button of my pants as we all sat and watched football in a food coma trance. Needless to say, there was enough food left to send each guest home with leftovers. I will be enjoying Ficatei cu Mamaliguta for the next few days and LOVING IT!