This is another tiella recipe from Bari. It’s not completely traditional as the mussels are not raw when added to the tiella, but if you don’t fancy opening all those mussels it’s a fair approximation. I’ll post the ‘authentic’ recipe later.
Boil the rice until al dente. Reserve some of the cooking liquid.
Heat the mussels in a pan with a little oil and the chopped garlic. When they have opened, remove from the pan. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove the top shell from each mussel.
Assemble the tiella in a ovenproof dish. Make layers of the ingredients in the following order – potatoes, rice, onions, tomatoes, a little cheese, parsley. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used up, finishing with a layer of potatoes.
Pour the liquid from the mussels over the tiella. Add some of the cooking liquid from the rice so that the level of liquid comes about two thirds of the way up the dish. Season well with pepper (not salt as the mussel liquid will be quite salty). Drizzle olive oil on top.
Bake uncovered for around 35 minutes at 180C. Add a layer of mussels in the half shells, drizzle on a little more oil and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Minestra di ceci from Matera. A few weeks ago some friends and I visited the beautiful town of Matera in Basilicata. After a very pleasant morning sightseeing we visited a restaurant that had been recommended in the ‘Slow Food’ guide – ‘Le Botteghe’ in Piazza San Pietro Barisano. Wonderful simple food. This is my attempt to recreate one of their specialities.
Petti di pollo in carpione. I got this recipe from the English translation of il cucchiaio d’argento –The Silver Spoon. This book is I think on the whole a clever marketing trick. It is a 1950s cookbook with a few modern recipes tacked on the end. Add to that an appalling translation, don’t trust any measurements! The recipes still appear in the original Italian alphabetical order even though they have been translated into English. I have met some people who have heard of it here, a bit like the good housekeeping books in the UK, but I have yet to find anybody who has used it. It can be useful for ideas if you already know what you are doing. The following recipe is in fact very nice 🙂 Serves 4
Soused chicken breasts ingredients
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast portions
80 g breadcrumbs
25 g butter(or use all oil)
5 tablespoons olive oil (I usually use much less)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
350 ml white wine vinegar
100 ml dry white wine
4 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
salt and pepper
Beat the chicken with a meat mallet until evenly thin.
Beat the egg with a pinch of salt in a dish, add the chicken and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Spread out the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Drain the chicken and dip in the breadcrumbs to coat.
Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan, add the chicken and cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another pan, add the onion, celery and carrot and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the vinegar and wine and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat and add the sage and garlic.
Place the chicken in a dish, pour the hot marinade over it, leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.
Zuppa di pesce alla Brindisina. A couple of weeks ago I got together with a couple of friends in order to cook a fish ‘soup’ . Soup is a bit of a misnomer, as there isn’t really that much liquid involved. It was an all day project involving a trip to the fish market in the morning, lots of preparation in the afternoon (why are mussels so time consuming to clean? I’d happily eat them every day if I didn’t have to spend an age scraping and pulling off various unsavoury parts 🙂 ) and cooking and eating in the evening. I glad to say it was worth the effort. Serves 4
Fish soup ingredients
600g scorpion fish (or any other firm white fish – we used hake), cleaned and definned.
350g squid, cleaned and cut into pieces.
150g cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into pieces.
300g mussels, cleaned and debearded.
200g clams, scrubbed
300g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped.
1 stick celery, finely chopped.
1 onion, finely chopped.
1 sprig parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped.
1/2 glass olive oil
4 slices stale bread
Soften the onion and celery in a large pan. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until the start to break down and form a sauce.
Add the squid and cuttlefish and cook until they start to become tender – 10-20 minutes.
Add the mussels, clams and chilli, stir and then lay the fish on top. Cover and cook over a low heat until the fish sarts to flake (check from time to time with a fork).
To serve, place a slice of bread in the bottom of a bowl, sprinkle on a little garlic and parsley and spoon the soup on top.
Fritatta di spinaci. The original recipe called for 2kg of spinach. As this is about 2 medium sized shopping bags full, I decided to cheat a bit and use 1kg. To be honest, I didn’t fancy cleaning it all. The results were excellent however. Serves 4-6.
Brasato Al Barolo. From Piemonte. Barolo is the king of Italian wines. It’s also a bit pricey so I used a very nice Primitivo di Manduria instead. Don’t tell anyone 😉 This dish is often served with polenta.
Brasato al Barolo ingredients
1 kilogram piece breast of veal (or beef) — whole
30 grams butter
1 bottle Barolo (or other full bodied red wine)
1 medium onion — finely chopped
1 stick celery — finely chopped
1 medium carrot — finely chopped
1 stick cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic
You will need a cooking pot that is suitable for slow cooking, Earthenware would be ideal.
Add the veal, onion, carrot, celery, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic to the cooking pot.
Pour on the wine, making sure that the meat is completely covered.
Brasato al Barolo marinating
Leave to marinate for at least 12 hours.
Remove the meat from the marinade (reserve) and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper.
Heat the butter and olive oil in the cooking pot and fry the veal on all sides until it is well coloured and has a ‘crust’.
Re add the marinade.
Season, cover and cook over a very low heat for around 3 hours. Turn the meat from time to time (or baste with the sauce)
At the end of cooking remove the rosemary, bay leaves, cinnamon and garlic.
Remove the meat and allow to rest before slicing. I prefer quite thick slices, but it’s more usual to make them quite thin.
If the sauce is still a bit thin, reduce over a high heat until it thickens. You can sieve or liquidize it to make a smoother sauce.
Crema al mascarpone. This is a Pugliese take on tiramisu. I don’t often make dessert, so I think I need a bit of practice getting it to ‘look pretty’ 🙂 It tasted nice though. A good way to use up all that leftover chocolate after Easter. Serves 4
mascapone cream ingredients
6 tablespoons sugar
100 grams mascarpone cheese
50 grams dark chocolate
4 ladyfinger biscuits
Remove the mascarpone from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
Soak the biscuits in the coffee and put them in a dish which is just big enough to take them in a single layer.
Separate the eggs and beat the yolk together with the sugar until it is well incorporated.
Beat the egg white until it forms stiff peaks
Fold the egg white into the yolk/sugar mixture.
Beat the mascarpone until it’s smooth and then fold it into the egg mix. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and fold into one portion of the mascarpone mixture.
Cover the biscuit first with a layer of the plain mascarpone and then with the chocolate.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving
Sgombri All’aceto. From Puglia. Mackerel is a very cheap and tasty fish. It is readily available and stocks are ample. There is a campaign at the moment to get the British to eat more, especially in chip shops Fish Fight Here in Bari there is no such aversion. This is a very simple recipe, but you must use very fresh mackerel. The blanching should be very brief, be careful not to overcook. The traditional way to time the cooking is to recite the pater noster or Lord’s prayer.
fresh mackerel, cleaned and filleted
white wine vinegar
garlic, finely chopped
fresh mint, finely chopped
Mackerel in vinegar ingredients
Blanche the mackerel fillets for a few seconds in boiling, salted water. I’ll start you off. “Our Father… ” 🙂
Put the fillets into a non-metallic dish and cover with vinegar.
Leave to marinate for an hour.
Remove the mackerel from the vinegar and transfer to a serving plate.
Dress with olive oil, garlic and mint.
Note: If you don’t want to eat the mackerel immediately, they will keep for a while in the fridge if you cover them with olive oil.
Agnello di Pasqua. This is another Pugliese dish. Very young ‘suckling’ lamb with eggs and peas. It will be difficult to find agnello di latte outside of Italy, but spring lamb will do just as well. You’ll probably need your butcher’s help to cut the leg into slices.Serves 6
Lamb with peas ingredients
1kg leg of spring lamb (or other cuts), cut into 2cm slices through the bone.
In an oven proof dish, soften the onion in the olive oil.
Lamb with peas frying onions
Add the lamb pieces and fry until well sealed. Add the wine, cover and transfer to an oven preheated to 180°C
Lamb with peas browning meat
Cooking time will depend on the lamb, so a bit of guesswork will be involved. When the lamb is about 3/4 done, add the peas. Mix together the eggs, parsley and pecorino. When the lamb is cooked, pour over the egg mixture. Leave for a couple of minute until the eggs have set and serve.