Pasta with Swordfish*

Sometimes I crave for a dish that is completely out of season but so good that I have to make it, against my rule that all the ingredients should be seasonal.
It happened the other day, when I suddenly remembered the delicious recipe that a friend of mine had sent to me before Christmas. Caught in the Holidays rush, I had forgotten about it for weeks but, as soon as I remembered it, my mouth began watering at the idea of trying it before sharing it with you.
I must premise that, because of its history and location, Sicily has one of the best culinary traditions of Italy. Over the centuries, the island has been under Greek, Roman, Germanic, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, and even Spanish rule before it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Each culture has left its footprint on the Sicilian gastronomy that, as a result, is a unique blend of exotic and traditional, local and foreign flavors.
Moreover, the island climate allows an incredible variety of crops, which vary from citruses, almonds, olives and pistachios along the coast to mushrooms and berries in the mountains; the Mediterranean seafood is outstanding but, as you move towards the interior, it’s replaced by venison, meat and poultry cooked in distinctive ways, with unique combinations of ingredients. Then are the cheeses, the sweets, the preserves, and the strong wines …
Every bite makes you wonder how somebody came up with such a dizzying mixture of flavors in just one dish. It feels like each new invader wanted to add its own flavors to the local cuisine; then, over the centuries, nobody wanted to renounce to them and they all became part of the Sicilian cooking style.
In Sicily, every meal is a feast or, as a friend of mine likes to say, a challenge because you would like to eat everything.
Just read this recipe and you’ll understand why I’ve classified it under the “indulgence” category. It’s probably not strictly Biological, but certainly worth trying!

*Recipe by Letizia and Max Arcidiacono

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Ingredients:

(serves 4)  S  B  Gf (with rice pasta)

  • 10 oz. of short pasta, preferably Penne
  • 8 oz. of swordfish
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 10 oz .of organic tomato sauce (see my recipe)
  • 1 mature red tomato red round onion
  • one medium round eggplant
  • 6 Tbsp. of Evoo
  • 1 cup of sunflower oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup of sweet white
  • 1 Tbsp. of chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp. of chopped parsley
  • 1 oz. of grated Ricotta Salata cheese
  • Salt and black pepper Continue reading

Veal Carpaccio with celery

This easy and tasty recipe doesn’t require any cooking since the raw meat is “cooked” by its marinade. Invented in the ’50s by Giuseppe Cipriani, the renowned founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, it’s named after the XVI century painter Vittorio Carpaccio, whose exhibition was happening in Venice when Cipriani created this dish for a Venetian countess.
Carpaccio can be made both with meat (beef sirloin or veal eye of round are ideal) or fish (tuna, halibut, swordfish) and its toppings vary from region to region: in Sicily it’s served with capers, in Piedmont with shaved white truffle, a real delicacy.
I like it with veal because it’s more delicate than beef, topped with Parmesan cheese and celery because these two tastes complement each other.

Carpaccio makes a very good appetizer or a light meal, if completed by a green salad and a warm starch, like potatoes or rice (see my Lemon Rice and Potato Salad recipes)

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Ingredients:

(serves 4)  A  B  Gf

  • 1 lb. of veal, sliced very thin
  • 2 celery hearts
  • 2 oz. of shaved Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Marinade:

  • 1 organic lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground Himalayan salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste, optional)

Ask your butcher to slice the meat almost paper-thin or, if you have a meat slicer, slice the meat yourself.
Arrange the slices on the serving dishes.
In a small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients and pour it over the meat. Let the meat marinade for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the outer stalks from the celery and use only the tender central part. Wash it, pat it dry and cut it thinly. Arrange the celery on the meat, and lastly shave some Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Beets and feta salad

IMG_4793Ingredients:

(serves 4)  F  W  B  V  Gf

  • 1 bag of organic arugula
  • 2 red beets (cooked)
  • 1 fennel
  • 3 oz. of Feta cheese
  • ¼ cup of roasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:

  •  2 tsps. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. of  organic honey
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt (to taste, optional)
  • Pepper (to taste, optional)

Trim the leaves from the beets, wash the beets, scrubbing away any dirt, and leave them wet. Wrap them in foil and place them on a cookie sheet. Cook in the oven at 400F for 45/50 minutes. Once cooled, peel them by removing the outer skin with a knife and cut them into small cubes.
Rinse the organic arugula and arrange it on four serving dishes. Cut the Feta cheese into small pieces; arrange these two ingredients on the arugula, together with the pumpkin seeds.
Trim the fennel stalks and wash the bulb. Cut it in half lengthwise and slice it thinly, starting from where you removed the stalks and discarding the hard root end.
Arrange some fennel on each salad.
In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing on the salad.

Enkir Flat Bread

Enkir is a type of small spelt that belongs to a species that first appeared in the Middle East approximately 12,000 years ago.  Being a wild cereal, it has a natural resistance to diseases and stress and therefore it doesn’t need fertilization or pesticides, which is why it is considered to be a true organic cereal.  Its flour has a high protein content and a high level of carotenoids, which give it its characteristic yellow color.
Enkir flour is very digestible and performs best in simple preparations. Since it doesn’t require long rising, it’s perfect for making these easy flat breads.

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Ingredients:

(makes 8 – 10)   A   B   V

  • 2 cups of Enkir flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 tsp. salt

Mix the ingredients and knead shortly to obtain a smooth dough.  If the dough is too sticky to knead, add more Enkir flour. Continue reading