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… ” 🙂
  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.

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°C

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°C 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

Rabbit marinated in white wine

 Coniglio marinato.

Serves 6

marinated rabbit ingredients

  1      rabbit — cut into portions
  30   grams  butter
  1/2 litre  dry white wine
  2     tablespoons  white wine vinegar
  1     onion
  1     carrot
  1     stick  celery
  3     tablespoons  olive oil
         salt and pepper

  • Put the rabbit pieces in a dish along with the onion, carrot, celery, wine, vinegar and a few peppercorns. Marinate for at least 6 hour in the fridge.
  • When you are ready to cook the rabbit, remove it from the marinade and dry well with kitchen paper. Add the butter and oil to a pan and brown the rabbit pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Strain the marinade and add about 2 ladelfuls to the pan. Allow to evaporate a little and then cover the pan.
  • Cook over a low heat for about an hour and a quarter. If it looks like drying out, add a little more of the marinade.
  • marinated rabbit finished dish

Quail 'alla cacciatora'

 Quaglie alla cacciatora. Have you ever seen quail in the supermarket and wondered what the hell you are supposed to do with them? I finally decided to have a go cooking them. An Italian friend gave me this recipe and it was a piece of cake to make. It would work well with chicken pieces as well, if you don’t fancy the quail.

Serves 3

quail in white wine ingredients 

  6   quail
  70 grams  butter
  1   glass  white wine
  2   tablespoons  flour
  1   bay leaf
  1   tablespoon  parsley — chopped
       salt and pepper   

  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the quail and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and fry until the quail are done, turning frequently so they are evenly coloured, about 15 minutes. Remove to a warmed serving dish.
  • Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure there are no lumps. Add the wine and stir rapidly until the sauce is smooth. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour the sauce around the quail, sprinkle on the parsley and serve.

quail in white wine ingredients

Chicken breasts baked with parmesan

Petti di pollo al forno con parmigiano

Serves 4

chicken with parmesan ingredients

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl a beat together with a pinch of salt.
  2. Flatten the breasts slightly using a meat mallet or a rolling pin
  3. Dip each breast first into the egg mixture, making sure it is completely covered, then into the parmesan, pressing down with your fingers so it sticks to the fillets.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Butter a baking tray, add the chicken and liberally spot with small knobs of butter
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes

chicken with parmesan finished dish

Chicken with mushrooms

Chicken with mushrooms finished dish

Chicken with mushrooms finished dish

Pollo ai funghi. If you don’t have enough dried mushrooms, you can add a few regular white mushrooms to bulk it out. Serves 4

  • 150 grams dried mushrooms (preferably wild mushrooms)
  • 1 whole chicken cut into portions (or chicken pieces, legs and thighs etc)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 25 grams butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots (or baby onions) — sliced
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons passata
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover and leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and squeeze out. Keep the liquid for flavouring soups or stews.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a pan. Add the chicken and fry, turning frequently, until browned all over.
  3. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook for a few minutes, then add the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
  4. Add the passata and 3 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook until the chicken is tender. Cooking time will depend on the chicken – it could take up to an hour
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.

Grilled stuffed squid

Calamari ripieni alla griglia. Some people like to leave the wings on the squid, but I prefer to remove them and include them in the stuffing. Serves 4

Grilled stuffed squid ingredients

Grilled stuffed squid ingredients

  • 4 medium  squid, cleaned and skinned
  • 1 sprig  parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 clove  garlic, chopped
  • 50g  bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the grill to hot.
  2. Chop the squid tentacles and wings with the parsley and garlic. Add the breadcrumbs, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stuff the squid bodies with the mixture and secure with a toothpick.

    Grilled stuffed squid ready to cook

    Grilled stuffed squid ready to cook

  4. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill, turning frequently, until golden brown and tender. Cooking time will depend on the size of the squid.
Grilled stuffed squid finished dish

Grilled stuffed squid finished dish

Beef in white wine and tomatoes

This classic dish is known as spezzatino di manzo in Italian. If you serve it with polenta, it’s a meal in itself. Serves 4

Beef in white wine ingredients

Beef in white wine ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 600g lean stewing beef, cubed
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 200g tomato pulp or passata
  • salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan, add the onion, celery and cook over a low heat, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the meat and stir-fry until it is browned all over.
  3. Add the wine and let it reduce until it has almost completely evaporated.
  4. Add the tomatoes along with 150ml warm water.
  5. Cover and simmer over a low heat until the meat is tender, 1-2 hours.
Beef in white wine

Beef in white wine

Sausage ‘alla cacciatora’

Salsicce alla cacciatora translates as ‘Hunter’s sausage’ . I just thought I’d mention that for those of you that love double entendres 🙂  Serves 4

sausage alla cacciatora

400 grams sausages – preferably Italian
 200 grams mushrooms — sliced
 1/2  medium onion — chopped
 1      clove garlic — chopped
 400 grams tomatoes (fresh or tinned) — peeled and chopped
 salt and pepper

  • Prick the sausage and fry in a little butter until well coloured. Remove the sausages and put aside.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes.
  • Return the sausages to the pan, cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.

sausage alla cacciatora finished dish

Serve with fresh crusty bread

Tiella of mussels and potatoes

Bari crestThis is another classic dish from Bari. A tiella is a terracotto cooking dish thought to have been introduced by the Spanish. The ingredients are built up layer by layer in the dish and then baked in the oven. Tiellas were at one time the evening meal of the farm workers when they came in from the fields. They were made from whatever was abundant and cheap at the time. This version uses mussels, a staple of Pulgia.  Serves 4

tiella of mussels and potatoes ingredients

  • 1kg mussels, thoroughly cleaned
  • 500g tomatoes, sliced
  • 300g potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • pecorino, grated
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  1. Heat the mussels in a pan with a little olive oil until they open. About 5 minutes. Reserve the liquid
  2. Remove the top shell from each mussel
  3. In an oven proof dish, preferably terracotta, put a layer of  half the tomatoes, then all the onions, half the parsley and half the garlic.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil.
  5. Then make a layer of the sliced potatoes.
  6. Make a layer of mussels in their half shell and top with the rest of the parsley and garlic
  7. Sprinkle plenty of pecorino on top and drizzle with some more olive oil.
  8. Bake at 180 C for 35-40 minutes

tiella of mussels and potatoes finished dish 1

tiella of mussels and potatoes finished dish 2

Stuffed cuttlefish

This would go just as well with squid. Be careful when removing the cuttlefish ‘bone’ as it’s important to leave the body sack whole. Don’t worry about skinning them as the skin will burn off on the grill.  Serves 4

stuffed cuttlefish ingredients

  8       medium  cuttlefish
  150   grams  pecorino Romano — grated
  150   grams  bread crumbs
  1        medium  egg
  2        cloves  garlic — finely chopped
  1        sprig  parsley — finely chopped
  1        tablespoon  capers — finely chopped
  4        fillets  anchovies — finely chopped
            olive oil
            salt and pepper

  • Clean the cuttlefish, keeping the body whole. Finely chop the tentacles.
  • Mix together in a bowl, the tentacles, bread crumbs,egg, garlic, parsley,
    capers, anchovies, pepper and a good slug of olive oil.
  • Carefully stuff the bodies with the mixture.
  • Brush with olive oil, season with salt and grill for about 20 minutes

grilled cuttlefish finished dish

Roast spareribs with garlic and rosemary


Serves 4

Roast spare ribs ingredients

Roast spare ribs ingredients

  • 1 kg  Pork spareribs
  • 2 cloves  garlic
  • 2 sprigs  rosemary — removed from the stalk and roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Make incisions in the meat and insert slivers of garlic
  2. Drizzle on some olive oil and make sure the ribs are well covered
  3. Season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary
  4. Roast at 180 °C for about 1 1/4 hours
  5. The ribs should be well coloured and very tender
Roast spare ribs finished dish

Roast spare ribs finished dish


Cotechino with lentils

This is a traditional new year’s eve dish. Cotechino Modena or Cotechino di Modena, also sometimes spelled cotecchino or coteghino, is a fresh sausage made from pork and comes from Modena. Zampone Modena is closely related, but uses the pig’s trotter as a sausage case. There are two kinds of cotechino: Raw and precooked, though most Italians buy the precooked kind, which comes in a foil packet which you have to boil gently for 20 minutes. You should be able to get a ready cooked cotechino in an Italian deli.  Serves 4

cotechino ingredients

cotechino ingredients

  • 400 grams  lentils
  • 1 medium  onion — halved
  • 2 sticks  celery
  • 2 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 20 grams  olive oil
  • 600 grams cotechino sausage – precooked
  1. Put the lentils, half the onion and one of the celery sticks in a large
  2. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer over a low heat until
    the lentils are tender – about 45 minutes.
  3. When they are done discard the onion and celery. Chop the remaining onion
    and celery finely.
  4. Heat the oil and butter in a pan. Fry the onion and celery for about 5
  5. Drain the lentil and add to the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. If using a precooked cotechino, reheat according to the instructions on the packet. If you are using a fresh one, place it in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 2 hours for a small (600g) one, up to 4 hours for a larger (1000g) one. At the end of the cooking time, remove from the heat and allow to rest in the cooking liquid for 10 minutes, drain and slice into thick rounds.
  8. Serve the lentils with slices of the sausage on top.
cotechino finished dish

cotechino finished dish

Polpette with Gorgonzola

I struggled to find an English translation of polpette. I don’t think ‘burger’  or, even worse ‘rissole’, quite do it justice. In the end I left it in Italian. I’m sure you’ll get the idea 🙂

Serves 4

polpette with gorgonzola ingredients

  400 g veal — minced (or beef)
2 medium onions
100 g fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs
100 g  Gorgonzola cheese
olive oil
Grana cheese

  1. Moisten the breadcrumbs with a little milk
  2. Fry the onion in some oil for a few minutes.
  3. To make the polpette, mix together the veal, bread crumbs, onions, eggs and a little Grana. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Form into ‘burger’ shapes
  5. Dust with flour and fry in olive oil (or a mix of oil and butter) turning them a couple of times
  6. When they are cooked, lower the heat, place a slice of Gorgonzola on each polpetta  and cover the pan
  7. Allow the Gorgonzola to melt  and then serve

polpette with gorgonzola finished dish