Carpione

Carpione is an Italian ancient way of preparing food to preserve it during the warm season without refrigeration. There are many regional variations of carpione: in the lake region of northern Italy it’s typically used to preserve fish, as it is in Venice where this recipe takes the name of “saor”. The ingredients may vary from place to place but this preparation gives the food – fish, vegetables, or chicken – a tangy flavor perfect for a summer dinner or as an appetizer in any other season.
Thanks to the vinegar, this recipe keeps for many days in the refrigerator.

Zucchini “in carpione”

Ingredients:

(for 4 people)  A  B  Gf

  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 8 leaves of sage
  • 2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper grains

Cut the onions in half and soak them in a quart of cold water for at lest half an hour.
Wash the zucchini, remove both ends and cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each half into three sections, and then cut each section lengthwise into thirds. You should obtain sticks approximately 1½ inch long.

Warm up the Evoo oil in a frying pan and sauté the zucchini for about 7 to 9 minutes, stirring often. Don’t overcook them.
Prepare the carpione marinade. Pat the onions dry and slice them thinly. Warm up the EVOO in a pan and sauté the onions with the sage, without letting them brown (about 5-7 minutes). When they are tender, add the wine and the vinegar, then bring to a boil and let half of the liquid evaporate. Add the pepper grains.
Transfer half of the zucchini into a deep glass container and pour half of the hot marinade over it. Make a second layer with the remaining zucchini and pour the rest of the marinade over it. Let the zucchini marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving them.

Thanks to the vinegar, the zucchini will keep for several days in the refrigerator, becoming tastier and tastier.

Chicken “in carpione”

Ingredients:

(for 4 people)  A  B  Gf

  • 1 lb. of organic chicken breast tenders
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. of brown rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. of sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 8 leaves of sage
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. pink pepper grains

Cut the onions in half and soak them in a quart of cold water for at lest half an hour.
Mix the brown rice flour and the salt in a shallow dish. Toss the chicken tenders in the flour and coat evenly.Warm up the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Transfer the breast tenders into the pan and cook them evenly on all sides.

Prepare the carpione marinade. Pat the onions dry and slice them thinly. Warm up the EVOO in a pan and sauté the onions with the sage and rosemary, without letting them brown (about 5-7 minutes). When they are tender, add the wine and the vinegar, then bring to a boil and let half of the liquid evaporate. Add the pink pepper.
Transfer half of the chicken into a deep glass container and pour half of the hot marinade over it. Make a second layer with the remaining chicken and pour the rest of the marinade over it. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving it.

N.B. Please remember to wash your hands and every surface that has been in touch with the chicken with hot water and anti-bacterial soap, since poultry meat is very prone to contamination by the dangerous bacterium E. coli.

Fish “in carpione”

For this recipe you can use small fish fillets (like dover sole, tilapia, trout, etc.) or whole small fish like sardines. In the latter case, the vinegar will soften the fish bones and you want even feel them.
This dish can be served cold as an appetizer or warm on a bed of boiled Arborio rice, as they still do in the Como Lake region. The first time we took a couple of dear American friends to eat this dish in a hole in the wall in a tiny village near Bellagio, they asked us why we had ordered food for eight people. Fifteen minutes later, though, they were scraping the bottom of the serving dish, wondering how they would digest that huge amount of food. To their pleasant surprise, not only they didn’t have any problems digesting their lunch but by five o’clock they had room for an ice cream.
Ah, the wonders of genuine, organic regional Italian food!

Ingredients:

(for 4 people)  A  B  Gf

  • 1 lb. of fish fillets (dover sole, tilapia, trout, mullet etc.) or whole small fish like sardines
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. of brown rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. of sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 8 leaves of sage
  • 2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper grains

Cut the onions in half and soak them in a quart of cold water for at lest half an hour.
Mix the brown rice flour and the salt in a shallow dish. Toss the fish fillets or the whole small fish in the flour and coat evenly.Warm up the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Transfer the fish into the pan and cook it evenly on all sides.

Prepare the carpione marinade. Pat the onions dry and slice them thinly. Warm up the EVOO in a pan and sauté the onions with the sage, without letting them brown (about 5-7 minutes). When they are tender, add the wine and the vinegar, then bring to a boil and let half of the liquid evaporate. Add the pink pepper.
Transfer half of the fish into a deep glass container and pour half of the hot marinade over it. Make a second layer with the remaining fish and pour the remaining marinade over it. Let the fish marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving it.

The fish will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator but remember to take it out a couple of hours before serving it.

 

 

Chicken salad

Chicken leftovers? No problem! Last night I roasted a whole chicken, definitely too much for the two of us, especially because I don’t like its flavor if I warm it up the following day. So I removed the bones while the leftovers were still warm and today I turned them into this appetizing recipe.

Ingredients:

(for 4 people)  A  B  Gf

  • the meat from half roasted chicken or 1 lb. of organic chicken breast
  • one carrot (optional)
  • one stalk of celery (optional)
  • half yellow onion (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 2 tender stalks of celery
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • the juice of half lemon
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. of mayonnaise (see my recipe)

If you don’t have any chicken leftovers, boil the chicken breast until tender (approximately 40 minutes) in a quart of water, together with half yellow onion, one carrot and one stalk of celery.

In the meantime, make the mayonnaise (see my recipe). Then wash and peel the carrot, wash the celery and the bell pepper. Chop finely the celery and the carrot, cut the bell pepper into thin slices removing the seeds and white membrane inside, and then cut them into small pieces.

Mince the chicken, put it into a mixing bowl, squeeze the lemon on top of it, toss, add the chopped vegetables, the roasted pumpkin seeds, the mayonnaise, toss again and serve.

N.B. Please remember to wash your hands and every surface that has been in touch with the chicken with hot water and anti-bacterial soap since poultry meat is very prone to contamination by the dangerous bacterium E. coli.

 

 

 

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.

Smoked Salmon and Fennel Risotto

The other night I was craving for something new and original and, after browsing recipes for half an hour without finding anything inspiring, I opened my refrigerator hoping to find an idea. Looking at the fennel bulbs that I was planning to cook au gratin (see my recipe), I started to wonder how they would taste in a risotto instead. Probably bland, I concluded. But what if I added to them a stronger flavor? Smoked salmon suddenly seemed the perfect pairing and, since my husband is a very tolerant guinea pig, I decided to try the experiment.
Perhaps because I adore salmon in any possible way, I ended up loving this risotto: it’s healthy, it’s low-calorie, it’s light, it has an appealing look, and it makes a meal in less than half an hour!

IMG_4788

Ingredients:

(for 4 people)  F  W  B  Gf 

  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 4 oz. of smoked salmon
  • 10 oz. of rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1 quart of boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp. of butter
  • 3 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 1 organic bouillon cube
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped

Trim the fennel stalks and wash the bulb. Cut it in four lengthwise, then cut each half in two, Slice it thinly, starting from where you removed the stalks and discarding the hard root end. Continue reading

Swiss Chard with Rice and Poached Egg

This simple and quick recipe combines all you need for a nutritious breakfast or a simple lunch:

  • a leafy green low in calories but high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and rich in minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus;
  • carbohydrates from the rice;
  • proteins from the egg.

I love this dish not only because of its beautiful combination of flavors, but also because the Vitamin C is a poweful antioxidant and the Vitamin K is well known for promoting bone formation and strengthening, making it ideal for middle-aged women (like me).
Ingredients:

(serves 2)  A  V  B  Gf

  • 1 bunch of organic Swiss Chard
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. Evoo
  • 2 organic eggs
  • a few drops of vinegar
  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt

Wash thoroughly the Swiss chard and chop it into small pieces.  Transfer it into a pot with 2 cups of water, boil it for 10 minutes, and drain it.
Cook the rice in salted water, until al dente (12-15 minutes) and keep it warm.
Meanwhile, warm up the Evoo in a pan, peel the garlic, halve it, remove its green core and sautè it for a couple of minutes into the warm Evoo. Remove the garlic and sautè the Swiss chard for 5-7 minutes.
In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a gentle boil. Lower the heat until the water is simmering. Add a few drops of vinegar and gently break one egg at a time into the water, making sure not to break them. Cook for four minutes.
While the eggs are cooking, divide the Swiss chard onto two serving plates, arranging it to form a ring. Place the rice in the center of the ring and, once they are ready, place one egg on top of the rice, one per plate.
Serve warm.

Golden Beets with Queso Seco*

Ingredients:

(serves 2)   Sp  Sr  V  B  Gf

  • 1.5 cups cooked, peeled, and diced golden beets
  • 2 cups raw English peas
  • 1 shaved clove of elephant garlic (use a razor blade) super thin
  • 1 lb. fresh pea shoots
  • 1 bunch of pencil asparagus (cut on a severe bias) leave tips intact (blanched)
  • ½ lb. teardrop cherry tomatoes (l like the red & golden mix)
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • ¼ lb Queso Seco (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly toasted & ground cumin seed
  • 3 Cups sliced 1/4 in thick crimini mushrooms (tossed in salt & lemon juice, then drained)
  • 2 Cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Boil beets until almost fork tender (about 15 mins). Continue reading

Roman Gnocchi

Roman gnocchi are semolina flour dumplings that make a fabulous entrée or a side dish. Their taste is surprisingly delicate because, during the cooking process, their volume doubles and their sticky, thick texture becomes fluffy, almost soufflé-like.
I prefer to cut them into squares because it’s easier and less messy, but in Rome these gnocchi are cut into discs, typically using the wet rim of a small glass. These round gnocchi look nicer, but you are left with a lot of remnants and, being them such a delicacy, you don’t want to waste a single bite!

 Ingredients:

(serves 6)   A  V 

  • 2 cups of semolina flour
  • 1 quart of organic milk
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of unsalted organic butter + 1 Tbsp. for the oven pan
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt

Pour the milk into a saucepan, add a big pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and start adding the semolina flour, little by little, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid forming any lumps; cook for ten minutes, stirring often because this mixture has the tendency to become very thick and to stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Continue reading

Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta

The incredulous looks on people’s face when I tell them what I cooked for my birthday have convinced me that I must be one of the very few persons who cook on their own birthday.
As you might have inferred by now, not only I like to cook but also I like to eat. Unfortunately, I must do it with even more moderation and caution than the average person because of my age and my food intolerances.
Strangely, though, I don’t like to eat most of the things I make. This oddity can be explained by the fact that I have a very refined sense of smell and I can stand only very natural odors for a very short time. Therefore, when something has been cooking for longer than a few minutes in my kitchen, I’m already so nauseous that I don’t feel like eating it anymore. Continue reading