Grilled marinated swordfish

Pesce spada in salmoriglio. From Calabria. Serves 4

grilled swordfish ingredients

  • 4 swordfish steaks (about 200 g each)
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • oregano
  • 1 sprig parsley – chopped
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers – chopped
  • grated lemon zest
  1. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, a generous amount of oregano, parsley, lemon zest and capers to make the marinade. season with salt and pepper. Marinate the swordfish for a couple of hours.
  2. Remove the steaks from the marinade and dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Heat the grill to its maximum heat.
  4. Sprinkle the sword fish with a little oil and grill for a couple of minutes each side.
  5. Sprinkle with some of the reserved marinade and serve.

grilled swordfish finished dish

Carrot and mussel soup

trentino crestCrema di Carote e Cozze. This dish is from Trentino Alto Adige so it is heavily influenced by it’s northern neighbours. Don’t tell my Barese friends, but I found it rather good ūüôā Serves 4

 

carrot and mussel soup ingredients

carrot and mussel soup ingredients

  • 32 large mussels, cleaned
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 700g carrots
  • 70g butter
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • sugar
  • salt
  1. Dice half of the carrots. Fry in half the butter with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar until caramelized. Put aside.
  2. Finely chop the rest of the carrots. Fry in the rest of the butter for a few minutes with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Add the stock, cover and cook until the carrots are soft. Liquidize.
  3. Put the mussels in a pan with the wine and garlic. Place over a high heat until the mussels have opened. Shell the mussels. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve.
  4. Reheat the carrot purée. Add the mussels and their cooking liquid and the diced carrots. Served with the chopped parsley sprinkled over each portion.

carrot and mussel soup finished dish

 

Tiella alla Barese

Bari crest

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.

Tiella ingredients

Tiella ingredients

  • 400 g potatoes, peeeled and thinly sliced
  • 200 g risotto rice
  • 700 g mussels, cleaned
  • 2¬†cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1¬†medium onion, thinly sliced
  • a handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 200 g tomatoes, peeled, deseed and chopped
  • pecorino cheese, grated
  • pepper
  1. Boil the rice until al dente. Reserve some of the cooking liquid.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Easy tiella alla barese

Easy tiella alla barese

Panzanella Laziale

Lazio crestPanzanella Laziale. There are probably as many versions of this dish as there are cooks in Italy. This one comes from Lazio. Panzanella is a great way to use up stale bread.

Panzanella ingredients

Panzanella ingredients

  • 1 kilogram stale bread
  • 8 ripe tomatoes — deseed and chopped
  • 1 bunch basil — torn into small pieces
  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • capers (salted or in vinegar) to taste
  • anchovies to taste
  1. Soften the bread with a little water and tear into smallish pieces.
  2. Mix together the bread, basil, tomatoes, capers and anchovies.
  3. Dress with olive oil and a little vinegar (if the capers are in vinegar don’t add any extra).
  4. Leave for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and serve.
  5. Variation: Leave the slices of bread whole and serve topped with the rest of the ingredients.
Panzanella

Panzanella

Chickpea and tagliatelle soup

Matera crestMinestra 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.

botteghe entrance

Chickpea soup ingredients

Chickpea soup ingredients

  • 250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 150g fresh tagliatelle, cut into 5cm lengths
  • 30g smoked pancetta, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Fry the pancetta and garlic cloves in a little olive oil for a few minutes.
  2. Add the chickpeas together with a litre of water and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the rosemary, cover and cook over a moderate heat for around 2 hours.
  4. Remove the rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the taglietelle and cook for a further few minutes.
  6. This dish is sometimes served topped with fried breadcrumbs.

Variation: When the chickpeas are cooked remove half the chickpeas, liquidize them and return them to the soup.

Soused chicken breasts

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 ūüôā Serves 4

Soused chicken breasts ingredients

Soused chicken breasts ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast portions
  • 2 eggs
  • 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
  1. Beat the chicken with a meat mallet until evenly thin.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Soused chicken breasts

Brindisi fish soup

Brindisi crestZuppa 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 ūüôā ) and cooking and eating in the evening. I glad to say it was worth the effort. Serves 4

Fish soup ingredients

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
  1. 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.
  2. Add the squid and cuttlefish and cook until they start to become tender – 10-20 minutes.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
fish soup finished dish

fish soup finished dish

Spinach frittata

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.

spinach frittata ingredients

  • 1 kilogram fresh spinach
  • 6 medium eggs — beaten
  • 1 handful parmesan cheese — grated
  • ¬† ¬†olive oil
  • ¬† ¬†salt and pepper
  1. Wash the spinach and remove the stalks. Steam until wilted, squeeze out any excess liquid, and chop finely.
  2. In a large bowl , mix together the eggs, spinach and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat plenty of oil in a frying pan until it is almost smoking. Pour in the egg mixture and shake the pan to even out the frittata. Cook until the top has started to set.
  4. Turn the frittata by covering the pan with a large plate, turn it upside down so it falls onto the plate and slide it back into the pan with the uncooked side down.
  5. Continue frying until the frittata is cooked through. Unlike an omelette, it should be quite firm and well set. You shouldn’t cook it for too long however as it will become dry.
  6. Serve hot or cold.

spinach frittata finished dish

Brasato Al Barolo

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¬†ūüėČ This dish is often served with polenta.

Serves 6.

Brasato al Barolo ingredients

Brasato al Barolo ingredients

 

  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†kilogram piece breast of veal (or beef) — whole
  • ¬† 30¬†grams¬† butter
  • ¬† olive oil
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†bottle¬† Barolo (or other full bodied red wine)
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†medium¬† onion — finely chopped
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†stick¬† celery — finely chopped
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†medium¬† carrot — finely chopped
  • ¬† 3¬†¬†¬†¬†cloves
  • ¬† 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.

  1. Add the veal, onion, carrot, celery, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic to the cooking pot.
  2. Pour on the wine, making sure that the meat is completely covered.

    Brasato al Barolo marinating

    Brasato al Barolo marinating

  3. Leave to marinate for at least 12 hours.
  4. Remove the meat from the marinade (reserve) and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper.
  5. 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’.
  6. Re add the marinade.
  7. 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)
  8. At the end of cooking remove the rosemary, bay leaves, cinnamon and garlic.
  9. Remove the meat and allow to rest before slicing. I prefer quite thick slices, but it’s more usual to make them quite thin.
  10. 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.
  11. Pour the sauce over the veal and serve.

brasato al barolo finished dish

 

Mascarpone cream

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’ ūüôā¬† It tasted nice though. A good way to use up¬†all that leftover chocolate after Easter. Serves 4

mascapone cream ingredients

mascapone cream ingredients

  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†egg
  • ¬† 6¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†tablespoons¬† sugar
  • ¬† 100¬†grams¬† mascarpone cheese
  • ¬† 50¬†¬†¬†grams¬† dark chocolate
  • ¬† 4¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†ladyfinger biscuits
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† espresso coffee
  1. Remove the mascarpone from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Soak the biscuits in the coffee and put them in a dish which is just big enough to take them in a single layer.
  3. Separate the eggs and beat the yolk together with the sugar until it is well incorporated.
  4. Beat the egg white until it forms stiff peaks
  5. Fold the egg white into the yolk/sugar mixture.
  6. Beat the mascarpone until it’s smooth and then fold it into the egg mix. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and fold into one portion of the mascarpone mixture.
  8. Cover the biscuit first with a layer of the plain mascarpone and then with the chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving
    Mascapone cream finished dish

    Mascapone cream finished dish

This dish will keep in the fridge for up to a day

 

Mackerel in vinegar

Mackerel in vinegar finished dish

Mackerel in vinegar finished dish

puglia crestSgombri 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
  • ¬†olive oil
  • ¬†garlic, finely chopped
  • ¬†fresh mint, finely chopped
Mackerel in vinegar ingredients

Mackerel in vinegar ingredients

  1. Blanche the mackerel fillets for a few seconds in boiling, salted water. I’ll start you off. “Our Father… ” ūüôā
  2. Put the fillets into a non-metallic dish and cover with vinegar.
  3. Leave to marinate for an hour.
  4. Remove the mackerel from the vinegar and transfer to a serving plate.
  5. 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.

Linguine with cuttlefish ragu

Linguine al ragu di seppia. Serves 6

Cuttlefish ragu ingredients

Cuttlefish ragu ingredients

  • 6¬†medium¬†cuttlefish, cleaned, whole
  • 100g¬† onion,sliced
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1kg¬†chopped tomato (fresh or tinned)
  • 600g¬†linguine
  • 100g¬†pecorino pugliese, grated
  1. Fry the onions in plenty of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the cuttlefish and fry on all sides.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook over a low heat for around 3/4 hour.
  3. When the cuttlefish are tender, remove from the sauce and keep warm.
  4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. It probably wont need much salt as the cuttlefish can be quite salty.
  5. Dress the cooked pasta with the sauce. Serve sprinkled with the pecorino and parsley. Top each portion with one of the cuttlefish.

linguine with cuttlefish ragu finished dish

Note: If the cuttlefish are quite large, you may prefer to serve them as the second course.

Easter lamb

Easter lamb

Easter lamb

puglia crestAgnello 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

Lamb with peas ingredients

  • 1kg¬†leg of spring lamb (or other cuts), cut into 2cm slices through the bone.
  • 500g¬†very young fresh peas (unshelled weight)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2¬†medium¬† eggs
  • 50g¬†pecorino, grated
  • 100¬†ml¬†dry white wine
  • plenty of olive oil
  • plenty of chopped flat leaf parsley

In an oven proof dish, soften the onion in the olive oil.

Lamb with peas frying onions

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¬įC

Lamb with peas browning meat

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.

Sea bream in white wine

Orata in vino bianco. Serves 4

Sea bream in white wine ingredients

Sea bream in white wine ingredients

  • ¬† 4¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†small¬† sea bream — cleaned and scaled
  • ¬† 2¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†lemons — thinly sliced
  • ¬† 2¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†medium¬† onions
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†sprig¬† parsley
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†sprig¬† mint
  • ¬† 1 1/2¬†glasses¬† dry white wine
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† olive oil
  1. Put a couple of tablespoons of oil, the whole cloves of garlic and the fish into an oven proof dish. Bake for a few minutes at 180¬įC until the fish starts to colour.
  2. Add the wine to the dish. Chop together the onion, parsley and mint and sprinkle on top of the fish. Add the sliced Lemon and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Return to the oven until the fish is done. The timing depends on the size of the fish.

 

Sea bream in white wine finished dish

Sea bream in white wine finished dish

Bavette with broad beans

Bavette con le fave. Broad beans arrived in my local green grocer this week. It means spring is on the way ūüôā Serves 4
Bavette with broad beans ingredients

Bavette with broad beans ingredients

  • 300g¬† bavette
  • 300g¬† shelled broad beans
  • 60g¬† parma ham, cut into strips
  • 60g¬† butter
  • 1/2¬†medium¬†onion, chopped
  • a little stock (home made, unsalted)
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  1. Soften the onions in a little olive oil. Add the beans and cover with stock.
  2. Cook over a high heat until the beans are tender – a few minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, add the ham, stir and remove from the heat.
  4. Cook the pasta, drain and dress with the butter.
  5. Add the beans to the pasta and serve topped with parmesan.
Bavette with broad beans finished dish

Bavette with broad beans finished dish