We’re always game to honor and celebrate food traditions associated with various holidays, enjoying the opportunity to get a glimpse into the beauty of a different culture through the preparation and sharing of a delicious meal. With this in mind, our Weekly Sale from August 10th – 16th celebrates the food traditions of Ferragosto! The celebration has Roman origins, dating back to Emperor Agustus in 18 BCE, and the term Ferragosto derives from the Latin “Feriae Augusti,” which translates to “August rest.” The feast was part of the period of the festivities dedicated to Conso, god of the earth and fertility, and was called with the aim of ensuring an adequate rest after the efforts made in the previous weeks of work. The date of the ancient Ferragosto was August 1st, though the Catholic Church later moved the date to the 15th, in order to make Ferragosto coincide with the religious celebration for the Assumption of Mary, so you may often hear the holiday referred to as The Feast of the Assumption. In more recent times, Ferragosto signals the long summer vacation for Italians, and the culinary traditions of Ferragosto reflect the simplicity of summer cuisine in Italy. Dishes generally include carpaccio, seafood, fresh produce, and small plates of olives, cured meats, and cheeses. You’ll find some of these items in our Weekly Sale and this recipe offers a delicious way to pull them together! It’s a perfect way to showcase the succulence of a soil-grown Vermont tomato, and it’s the kind of meal that can be tossed together in 15 minutes without bringing too much heat to the kitchen.
Place thinly sliced onion in a bowl with the red wine vinegar and set aside to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Toast the bread on both sides under a broiler or in a toaster. While the toast is still warm, rub it with the cut side of the garlic clove, then coat it generously with butter. Top butter with tomato slices and lightly salt them. Top tomatoes with sardines, a sprinkling of olives, then a few of the pickled onion slices. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, then season with more salt and pepper. Garnish with basil or other fresh herbs and serve immediately.