I love fast food... or at least what for me still is and remains fast food, though Slow Food and friends insist on you calling it "street food" nowadays. More politically correct maybe, or justa differentiation to isolate the bad guys under the "fast food" label I guess. Call it whatever you like, what I'm talking is not McDo's cardboard burgers, rather all the typical food served "to go" all over the world: tasty, even delicious at times, unique and usually a calorie bomb. Traveling through a few Italian cities, I was inevitably greeted by the familiar sight of major US Burger chains, Starbucks-like joints, presumedly Neapolitan pizza stalls -selling in truth tomato and cheese topped industrial grade cardboard- and the ubiquitous Chinese takeaways and Kebab shops. All edible, minus the cardboard, yet boring. Why eat a sweet sour pork or a compressed chicken meat breaded lump (with additives) when you're somewhere new? Go look for the local stuff, follow your nose or ask a passer-by for a tip if you need to, and discover new food, that's what I always tell myself. Sometimes I will go against my tip and better judgment, I have to admit, but that's just because I can be really lazy if I wish to.
After the salumi and dinner of the day before, I was walking around Parma, looking at the sights, doing a little (cook-)book and food shopping and just killing time before dinner. Although I had decided to skip lunch for once walking three times out of the same bakery and seeing the numbers of people coming out with the local fast food speciality proved too hard to resist. I went in and came out a few minutes later holding my own piece of Erbazzone, a savory pie filled with a rich and extremely tasty spinach and swiss chard greens mixture. Though original of Reggio Emilia, Erbazzone seemed to be on sale everywhere in nearby Parma, in its classical version or even with a few alternative fillings. Don't get fooled by the vegetable filling into thinking of this as a light snack: it probably has enough calories to fuel a family of four for a day. Alongside the greens there's plenty of Parmigiano (inevitable in these area), pancetta, spring onions, garlic, parsley, and some recipes add an egg or even ricotta. Plus do you see those tiny brown bits on top of the crust? Crunchy pancetta bits: isn't that lovely? Beats a Big Mac every day.
P.S. for those interested in a recipe there's a good one from Mario Batali here. Apart Mario getting the city of origin of Erbazzone wrong, his recipe is quite heavy on the eggs . He's not the only one around doing so, though modern recipes are somewhat lighter and often use only one egg.