This is smelling mighty good at this moment–gently simmering on the stove.
A dish I’d bet Marcella Hazan ate regularly at this time of the year growing up in Senatico on Italy’s northeast coast.
Marcella is one of my heroes/mentors–though she doesn’t know it!
She married an American and left home with him to live in New York City in her early thirties.
She claims she had never done much cooking before this–the family meals were cooked by her mother, her grandmothers, aunts, the usual story of an extended Italian family.
Living with a new husband in a foreign land concentrated her mind she claims and she taught herself to cook. She says she remembered the way dishes smelt back in Italy and used this sense to judge if she was doing it right.
No memory of Grandma’s cooking for me but from the smell that’s wafting my way, things seem to be on course!
She cooks Italian/Italian not American/Italian and her books are wonderfully detailed.
There are just three ingredients here apart from olive oil and salt.
It’s a long slow cook.
1.5 lb piece of pork loin–more or less as required, the cooking time will be the same
8 tblsps red wine vinegar
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
- Heat the oil in a solid pan with a lid.
- Sear the meat (brown it) all over then salt it.
- Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and vinegar–and cover the pan tightly. It’s important not to loose too much liquid.
- Cook for an hour and half or longer, on the lowest heat possible*.
- Take out the meat and keep warm, covered with foil.
- Carefully spoon off the fat.
- Add three tablespoons of water and scrape off the bits in the pan.
- Warm the gravy through.
*I cooked this tonight for two hours; it was good but next time I’ll reduce the time a little and use a diffuser.
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Meredith reminded me about this pasta a couple of days ago.
Our friend Hilton introduced us to this dish years ago (like me, he too is a fan of Marcella Hazan).
My version is a slight twist on her original–(using olive oil instead of butter and adding the lemon zest).
It’s the quickest, delicious pasta I have ever had–and so simple!
The sauce is made in 5 minutes while the pasta is cooking.
a large pan of water
100gms/4oz of wholewheat spaghetti–Meredith thinks that a flat pasta like fettucini would catch the sauce better–hard to find wholewheat fettucini though
three sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves–pulped
1 vegetable stock cube (I use organic)–crumbled
the zest a lemon
2 tablespoons parmesan–grated.
some chopped parsley to add at the end–for the look.
- Cook the spaghetti in the salted water until al dente–or to your taste.
- Meanwhile heat the oil in a small sauce pan and on a low heat cook the rosemary and garlic until the garlic begins to colour–about 5 minutes.
- Add the crumbled stock cube, stir thoroughly–and turn off the heat.
- Drain the pasta and put it in a warm bowl.
- Strain the oil through a sieve and add it to the pasta with the cheese.
- Turn it all over to coat the pasta with the oil and sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley on top.
- We picked the not-too-brown garlic bits out of the sieve and scattered them over the pasts too!
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This guy was still on the ice at the market with two companions, at 9.15 Saturday morning.
At 600 grams a little on the large size for two–but I couldn’t resist him and counted myself lucky he had not been claimed.
Two smaller ones would do just as well.
Freshness is all–what is available and looks good.
This is adapted from a recipe by one of my culinary goddesses–Marcella Hazan.
1 sea bream, 600gms/1lb 5oz in this case or 2 at 250/300gms–washed and patted dry
4 tblspns olive oil
juice of a lemon
a handful of fresh thyme–very hardy and easy to grow in pots
3 cloves of garlic--crushed
a couple of tblsps flour–I use chickpea flour
salt and pepper
- Heat the oil to hot in a pan large enough to hold the fish flat.
- Season the flour with salt and pepper.
- Turn the fish in the flour, pat off the excess and stuff the cavity with half the fresh thyme.
- Add the bream and the garlic and sauté the fish for 2 minutes each side–
- taking care when turning it over in the hot oil.
- Turn the heat down to low.
- Add the lemon juice and the thyme and season (s & p) the fish on both sides.
- Cover the pan and cook until the fish is done, turning it over after five minutes.
- About ten minutes should do it, depending on the size of the fish.
Mr. Bream with tail restored
- Now comes the tricky bit–lifting off the fillets.
- Not too tricky–in fact quite fun and no matter if it breaks up, it will taste the same.
- Carefully ease the top fillet away from the backbone—-
- and place it on a plate!
- Peel the backbone away from the remaining fillet and
- slide a fish slice (the spatula pictured) underneath.
- I served it with sautéed spinach and we ate the garlic!
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Posted in Food, other sides to this life, Recipes, Robin Ellis, tagged courgette, courgette gratin, elizabeth david, Marcella Hazan, recipe, zucchini, zucchini gratin on August 19, 2012 |
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Words to yesterday’s pictures!
This is a classic Mediterranean dish and everyone has a way to do it– as is clear from the comments left after yesterday’s Wordless Blog.
(I want to try a courgette parmegiagno this week–where the courgettes/zucchini are griddled as aubergines/eggplants are in the classic dish and then as here mixed with tomato and cheese).
Italian style because it’s inspired by a Marcella Hazan version and is a little different to the Elizabeth David’s French gratin in Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.
- Prepare 3 good size courgettes/zucchini–top and tail them and slice them thin–a food mixer appliance does this nicely.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the sliced courgettes, a chopped garlic clove and half a teaspoon of salt.
- Turn everything over several times to coat the vegetables lightly in the oil.
- Cook on a low heat until the courgettes are wilted.
- Set the courgettes/zucchini aside.
- Make a quick tomato sauce with–
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1k/2lbs fresh tomatoes–cored and roughly chopped or 2 large tins of tomatoes–drained of their juice and roughly chopped.
- 2 garlic cloves–peeled and thinly sliced.
- Salt and pepper.
- A few basil leaves–chopped.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic.
- Soften it briefly–being careful not to let it brown too much or burn.
- Add the tomatoes and cook over a high heat–stirring often–until the loose liquid has evaporated and little pock marks appear on the surface.
- If you can part the Red Sea–running a spoon through it–it’s done.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.
- Grate 3 to 4 tablespoons (about 40gms) parmesan cheese.
- Heat the oven to 200C/450F.
- Smear the base of an oven proof baking dish of suitable size with some of the tomato sauce.
- Then cover this with a layer of courgettes/zucchini.
- Season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle a layer of parmesan.
- And repeat the layering, starting with a layer of tomatoes.
- (Not forgetting to season lightly at each layer.)
- Topping it off with the last of the parmesan.
- Put the dish high in the oven for about 20 minutes or until it displays an inviting crispy brown top.
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“Just when you thought you’d had enough green beans for a while…” Meredith sighed at lunchtime, as she bit into a piece of this green and yellow discus–a frittata with green beans.
Frittata is an Italian omelette–made the opposite way to a French omelette.
I’ve been guided in their making by the incomparable Marcella Hazan–the queen of Italian home cooking.
The “trick” is in the time it takes.
It’s cooked over the lowest heat, for about 15 minutes–a French omelette over the highest heat, for probably less than a minute!
The French version is fluffy–the Italian firm, but not dry; more like a pastry-less quiche–served in slices.
What they have in common, apart from eggs, is that you can fill them–frittatas or omelettes–with pretty much what you fancy.
In this version, green beans and onion:
1 onion–peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz/250 gms green beans–cooked to tender, drained, and plunged into a bowl of cold water, then patted dry and cut into short lengths, ready to go into the frittatta mix
2 0z/50 gms parmesan cheese–grated
salt and pepper
a thumb-size knob of butter and a little more olive oil
- Sauté the onion in the olive oil until it colours nicely–set aside to cool.
- Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk them lightly to combine the yolk and the white.
- Whisk in the grated cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the beans and the onions to the bowl and mix them in.
- Heat the butter and the extra oil in a medium sauté pan [10 inch/26 cm] to hot.
- Fold in the egg mixture and turn the heat down to the lowest available–even use a heat diffuser too if you have one [the object being to keep the frittata moist through slow cooking].
- Cook for about fifteen minutes until there is just a little lake of liquid left on top.
- Heat the grill to hot and place the pan under it for a couple of minutes, just to firm it up.
“Great finish to the bean season,” acknowledged Meredith, after helping herself to a second slice….
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- Red cabbage is a member of the strangely named cruciferous family of vegetables (the four petals of their flowers are in the shape of a cross), together with broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy. These are super vegetables with many health benefits claimed for them.
- Adapted from a Marcella Hazan recipe it has the advantage of being an all-in-one dish. The chicken stays beautifully moist under its warm overcoat of collapsed cabbage.
- 1 chicken–cut up into eight or more pieces
- 1 red cabbage (at least 1lb/450gm)–quartered, the white stem removed, and thinly sliced
- 1 largish onion–peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic–peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 tablespoons red wine
- salt and pepper
- Choose a casserole or terracotta pot large enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer.
- Soften the onion and garlic in the oil until the garlic begins to colour–about 10 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and coat it well with the oily onion and garlic mix. Cook for 15 minutes, turning it over from time to time.
- Season the cabbage well, then bury the chicken pieces underneath it.
- Pour over the red wine and cover the pot.
- Cook for 40–45 minutes, turning the contents over from time to time and taking care it doesn’t burn.
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