Guinea Fowl in a Pyramid, or Faraona in Piramide: Guinea fowl were introduced to Italy from Egypt, and in the Marche were a mark of distinction, enjoyed only by the aristocrats and wealthy farmers, who would serve them at wedding banquets. In short, they were for special occasions. And this recipe, developed by Gioacchino Rossini's cook to celebrate the premier of the great composer's Mosè in Egitto, on November 20 1842, will make any occasion special.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Clean, flame, and wash a nice guinea fowl. Put herbs in the cavity: thyme, sage, juniper berries (just a couple) a bay leaf, and a few peeled cloves of garlic. Rub a long strip of thin cloth (white cotton or gauze) with garlic and wrap the bird in it; it should resemble a mummy. Line the bottom of a high sided oven dish with kosher salt and set the bird on it. Combine more kosher salt and flour and use the mixture to make a pyramid that surrounds the bird.
While you're doing this, preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C). Roast the bird for three hours.
Rossini's cook served it on it on its bed of salt, surrounded by couscous modeled so as to resemble dunes, together with a small hammer to break the salt crust. A beautiful presentation that you may want to duplicate. You can also simply surround the bird with the salt and flour mixture and roast it, and then be less theatric at table. The results will be fine indeed in any case.