Primer on local products
The cuisine of Puglia is essentially a rustic and healthy cuisine, a cucina povera, a cuisine of poverty. Pasta is made without eggs and bread is made from the hard-grain durum wheat that flourishes on the high plains of the north then center. The most famous example is that of Altamura which achieve a DOP certificate. The Pugliese diet is largely based on vegetables and legumes such as fava and chickpeas, fennel, artichokes, broccoli rabe, chicory and other foraged greens. Famous throughout Italy are the sweet pugliese pomodorini. Seafood abounds, with anchovies, sea urchins, octopus, mullet, Gallipoli type and other shrimp and the most delicious mussels one can find anywhere, small and sweet, although sadly the Mediterranean has been largely fished out. Dairy is not varied but the newly popular to us, burrata is local to the region and the mozzarellas are exceptional, surpassing the flavors of those of Campania. The olive oil of Puglia is some of the most delicious in Italy although has in the past been used to "extend" the pricer Tuscan oils to met world demand. Food is very seasonal and cooks are proud of this. An example are "lampesconi" which is a hyacinth (muscari racemosum) bulb eaten only a few weeks in the spring, having a pleasant nutty flavor.
This has been largely a home-based cuisine made in the home rather than by professional chefs in restaurant kitchens but this is changing fast. New sophisticates from cities like Milan or homegrown chefs that have studied outside the region, are returning to cater to a new urban refugee clientele to great success.