Alessandro Frassica is the creator and owner of ‘Ino, a popular paninoteca (“panini joint”) located right behind the Uffizi Gallery. The place doesn’t need much introduction as it is famous in town for having fostered a sort of panini revival and has been featured in dozen of publications, including The New York Times.
When Foods of Florence asked Alessandro about the current culinary scene in Florence, he said, “On the one hand, overall quality has never been so high. On the other, food businesses are flourishing and it isn’t always easy to gauge when a place is truly authentic”. At ‘Ino (short for panino), you won’t find any sad-looking, plastic-wrapped sandwiches but gourmet, made-to-order paninis with tempting names, like Favoloso (“fabulous,” with mortadella, gorgonzola, and red-pepper preserve) and I Love You (sweet gorgonzola and Cetara anchovies). Selected hams, salamis and cheeses are freshly sliced and then stuffed into warm, crusty ciabattas spread with artisan sauces, dressings and relishes. Several vegetarian options are also available.
Before opening his sandwich shop in 2006, Alessandro had a career in fashion that often took him away from Florence. On those business trips, he used to stop at local producers to savor and buy their specialties, a habit that served him well when he decided to start a bottega of his own. At forty, he quit his job and went on a sabbatical during which he toured Italy looking for the best produce he could possibly find. He later created the menu for ‘Ino from such carefully sourced ingredients, now available both as sandwich fillings and for sale on the shelves of his paninoteca.
Alessandro shared with Foods of Florence his recipe for a flavorful panino that has become a classic at ‘Ino, Il Solito (meaning “the usual”). This sandwich consists of sharp ham, sweet pecorino cheese, fleshy tomatoes and tangy olive-and-anchovy pâté sandwiched between saltless Tuscan bread. Alessandro recommends to warm the bread before making the sandwich.
- saltless Tuscan bread
- 50 gr Tuscan ham
- 2 thick slices of young Tuscan pecorino
- 2 Piccadilly tomatoes
- extra virgin olive oil
You can buy pre-made tapenade or you can make your own by blending in a food processor some olives, anchovies, capers and a little extra virgin olive oil until the mixture reaches a slightly chunky texture. Warm the bread for a few minutes in the oven, then spread both sides with one tablespoon of tapenade. Add the ham, the pecorino, and the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
written by Gaia