The last morning in Naples found us wandering around an area of the city packed with fish markets. It’s astounding how fresh everything is. It’s also a little alarming to foreigners and northern Italians alike how often the locals haggle and argue with the sellers. Buyer expectation is very high and this is what drives quality.
Around the many containers of seafood, almost framing the glistening shells and scales and eyes like garlands, were the famous Amalfi lemons. Not just a few here and there, whole branches of them.
At one stall we happened to mention to the owner how good everything looked and what a shame we were in a hotel room and couldn’t cook. After the required negotiations of five euros a piece we were eating finely sliced raw fish and freshly shucked clams simply dressed with the family’s olive oil and a squeeze or two of those sweet, tangy lemons.
Lemons seem as much part of life in Naples as pizza, ricotta and mozzarella. Lunch on that last morning was eaten standing up, on the street, leaning against the counter of a hole-in-the-wall tripe stall. Served on food-grade paper, it consisted of various tripe, tendons, pig’s cheeks, ears, snout, rind and belly. All cooked perfectly, thinly sliced and served cold with a judicious dressing of salt and the juice of those amazing lemons.
We finished with a tangy, sweet granita made from Amalfi lemons and mint. Making it is easy and lasts longer in the freezer than gelato because it is not dairy based.