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rom a reading of Thomas Harris' books it appears clear that Doctor Lecter is a man with extravagant (to put it mildly) but also extremely refined manners and tastes. A "Des Esseintes" of our times, an aesthete who is morbidly sensual but above all is lucidly intellectual. And all of this, in his search for pleasure through food, is conducted in a perverse, even cannibalesque way.
Not even the extensive, appetite-whetting repertoire of French fin de siecle cuisine (that he proves to be something of an expert in), which is to the fore as far as horrid practices are concerned (ostriches dressed and swallowed live; live lobsters in broth, tied up carefully because they are still energetically throbbing; shellfish opened up in a pan on a low flame) seems able to satisfy his cannibal cravings in certain … hot situations. Maybe because such terrible culinary practices are usually carried out on cold-blooded creatures, while Lecter needs fevered heat to obtain the desired effect. This is clear from the detail about how the "dinner" is served, with the silverware taken directly from the food warmer so as to generate tactile communication, human warmth for the object of his attentions, the shapely Starling. And this explains why, in order to fully attain his objective, he turns to another great culinary tradition: in Oriental (particularly Chinese) cuisine, warm-blooded animals are also the object of terrifying "attentions" - a live monkey is held by a neck restraint, eyes wide open, while its brain is extracted from the open cranium and put directly onto the plate for preparation. Lecter clearly draws inspiration from this in his 'live' real time preparation of the brain of Kendler, the third participant (the one who supplies the raw material) in Hannibal's extravagant, paradoxical, erotic-gastronomic-cannibalesque party.
Even the Florentine chef, preparing a tribute to the artists involved in the transposition from novel into film, cannot help being infected, cannot resist the temptation (just a little, and metaphorically, but … with taste) to play Doctor Lecter, reworking in a Franco-Oriental Hannibalesque manner one of his Florentine 'brain' recipes. Obviously not that of a human, and not extracted from live animals, but bought as normal at a butchers.

Serves 4:
· Broth obtained by boiling a litre of slightly-salted water for 15 minutes, in which there is a tightly-bound garnish made up of a small bunch of parsley and another of fresh thyme. Leave to cool and then filter through a cloth.
· 2 cow's brains, washed and carefully peeled, and left undisturbed in icy-cold water for 2-3 hours
· 150 grams of exotic oriental dried fruit cut into small pieces
· 4-5 large roughly-cut scallions
· peel (only the yellow part) of one lemon, plus its juice and that of two other lemons
· 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled
· 5-6 strongly aromatic sage leaves
· 50 grams of fresh ginger (avoid stringy bits)
· 4-5 green cardamom seeds
· 30 grams of almond flour
· 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
· 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
· 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
· 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
· 3 tablespoons of sugar
· 3 tablespoons of acacia honey
· 1 glass of dry white wine (with a floral bouquet)
· a knob of butter
· 4 + 10 tablespoons of sesame oil
· a delicate-flavoured meat stock cube
· fine salt

Bring the aromatic broth to a rapid boil in a saucepan. With the removal of the skin, the two brains will now be in four sections. Place them carefully one by one on a strainer and immerse them in the boiling broth, making sure they are firmly on the bottom of the saucepan and completely covered by the liquid so that they maintain their shape and blanch evenly. Boil them with no lid on for 5-6 minutes on a medium flame, then turn off the heat. Remove the brains, allowing the excess liquid to drip off, and place them to dry and cool slightly for a few minutes on a clean cloth. Dispense with the broth.
Put the chopped scallions, butter, and 4 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, add a pinch of salt, and gently cook the onions on a medium-low flame for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently so the butter and scallions take on some colour but do not turn brown.
Meanwhile cut the brains crossways into fairly thick slices (about 4-5 slices for each half), flour them lightly and when the chopped onions are ready, place the slices on top, laid out carefully so they are not on top of each other. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side, making sure they do not stick to the bottom.
When they are slightly browned, remove them from the pan, allowing any excess liquid to drip off, and put them to one side, keeping them warm while the next step is carried out.
Add the white wine, lemon rind and juice, garlic, sage, ginger, cardamoms, and a large ladle of stock cube broth to the pan. Allow the liquid to reduce for 5-6 minutes, stirring and scraping carefully. Then remove from the flame, leave till it becomes tepid, and pour into a blender.
In the meantime, take the slices of brain, lay them out once again in the empty pan, and cover them evenly with the slices of dried fruit. Then add the remaining 10 tablespoons of sesame oil to the contents of the blender and blend at maximum speed until you obtain a very light, frothy mix which is fairly emulsified. Taste for salt and make sure there is a sweet/sour equilibrium, then pour the mixture into the pan, covering the slices of brain and dried fruit evenly. Shake the pan until the sauce is evenly distributed. Place on a very low flame and heat until it is just simmering, then simmer for about 8-10 minutes, shaking the pan gently every now and then so nothing sticks to the bottom or sides of the pan.
This second course recipe should be served piping hot without any side dish, accompanied by the same wine used in the recipe: a fresh delicate white, slightly sweetish, with aromas of white flowers in bloom. Vivacious, spirited, almost bubbly.