It is a simple cooking because it is made of poor ingredients, such as little refined flour or barley flour, cheaper than wheat one; or for the use of cultivated and wild vegetables that can be easily found in Salento, together with other kinds of products, such as snails; for its use of blue-fish, so revaluated today, but once it was the only kind of fish that people could afford; for the lack of meat dishes that were too expensive for the farmers.
In fact, the poor people ate meat only on Sundays (or even just a few times a year during the major holidays such as Christmas, Easter and the patron’s saint festival)mixing it with a lot of bread in order to make meatballs. Horse meat was wide spread because animals were used to work in the fields and as a means of transport and once they were too old to work, they became food. In Easter, when there is the tradition to eat lamb’s meat, people ate the waste of the animal, its entrails. These were used to prepare dishes that today are so valued for their quality and the balance of their flavor. Like today, lamb’s entrails were used to prepare the turcineḍḍi or gnommareddhi or mboti, which are rolls with a strong and delicious flavour, cooked on the grill.
Another traditional dish of Salento cooking is the Ciceri etria. It is fresh pasta, similar to noodle but without egg, partially fried in extra virgin olive oil and partially boiled with chickpeas, and served together. More over the spices of the Mediterranean scrub are used to flavor dishes: sage,rosemary, thyme, marjoram, mint and oregano.
Fantasy rules especially in desserts that reflect the influence of the eastern world (Byzantine andArab). The presence of ingredients such as almonds, honey and cinnamon is typical of many regions of the Near East and the Mediterranean coast.