May 21, 2010
ZUCCHINE, CIPOLLINE E PEPERONI ARROSTITI – ROASTED ZUCCHINI, SHALLOTS AND BELL PEPPERS
Recipe n. 16
Yesterday I went for a nice walk to the Farmers market. It’s such a pleasure walking around the market, especially this time of the year. The weather is perfect and the farmers have started to bring fresh and colorful fruit and vegetables to the market for the new season. I bought my first bunch of fresh organic basil, which I used later that day to make a delicious pesto sauce. I ‘m also going to use it for my next recipe. The smell was so strong it kept me happy all the way home. I also bought zucchini, shallots and bell peppers to roast and pour over a great dressing from ‘la cucina di mia madre’.
- 3 medium sized zucchini
- 3 bell peppers
- 10 shallots peeled
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint chopped
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium sized pot bring water to a boil and blanch the shallots for about 3 minutes. Place the bell peppers and the shallots on 2 different baking dishes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle the onions with some olive oil. Roast the peppers and the onions for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the peppers cool down before peeling. Slice the zucchini lengthwise to half an inch thick or less. Preheat the grill (I use a cast iron roasting pan on my stove top) and place the zucchini and grill each side for about 4 minutes. Prepare the dressing in a large mixing bowl with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mint, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients and dip the zucchini slices one at a time ensuring each piece absorbs the dressing well. Transfer the zucchini into a serving dish and pour the remaining dressing and garnish with mint on top.
Serve the vegetables with grilled rustic bread sprinkled with olive oil.
May 4, 2010
INSALATA DI CALAMARI – SQUID SALAD
Here is another fresh and simple recipe that brings me back to Sicily. It’s a dish that my mother used to make for us quite often, especially in the summer time. If I close my eyes I can still smell the fresh fish from the local vendor where my mum still buys her fish every day with the breeze coming up the hill from the sea. It’s a perfect salad to serve as an appetizer during a party or to eat on its own for lunch or dinner. I love how it tastes and how beautifully the colors of the ingredients complement each other.
- 15 wild squid ( tubes and tentacles)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped small
- 4 stalks of celery chopped small
- 2 green onions sliced small
- ¼ cup fresh Italian flat parsley chopped
- 2 juicy lemons
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Rinse the squid and place them in a pot with water, bay leaf and a few slices of lemon with its juice. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain the water and set aside to cool down. In a large salad bowl add the carrots, celery and onions. Cut the squid in rings and put in the bowl with the tentacles and the rest of the ingredients. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the salad marinate. You can serve it cold or at room temperature.
April 21, 2010
INSALATA DI ARANCE E FINOCCHI – FENNEL and ORANGE SALAD
Often times we take things for granted in our lives and we only appreciate them when we don’t have them anymore, or when we realize that what we thought was part of everyday life is not. I grew up in ‘una villetta con giardino’, a small house in Sicily with a beautiful garden full of olive, lemon, mandarin and orange trees. Back then I didn’t think of it as a special gift, I thought it was normal. My mom used to make us fresh squeezed oranges juice all the time and a delicious salad with orange and fennel, which is a typical dish in Sicily. The mix of these two ingredients together might sound unusual but the taste of it is very unique and refreshing. There are different versions of this salad but I personally like the original and simple one. It’s raw, fresh and quite easy to make.
- 1 large fennel bulb (reserve some fronds for later for decoration)
- 2 oranges (Sicilian blood oranges or navel)
- ½ an orange juiced
- 2 Tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
- 10 to 15 Black olives (optional)
- ¼ cup Red onion very thinly sliced (optional)
Cut the fennel bulb in quarters and slice it thinly crosswise. Peel each orange, slice in rounds or chop small. Whisk together the oil and juice in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and season the salad to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 3 people
Tip: If you’re not a vegetarian this salad is a perfect match for sweet fennel Italian sausages but even on its own it makes a perfect salad!