Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: sea bass

Italian Style Sea Bass

Ingredients

12 oz Chilean sea bass, cut into 2 portions
1 fresh lemon squeezed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
2 pats butter
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley, basil, minced
1/4 cup or more of Italian flavored bread crumbs

Directions

Oil a baking pan large enough to hold the fish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Lay the Sea Bass skin side down in the pan.
Whisk the lemon juice with the dill, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and garlic together.
Drizzle over each piece of fish, reserving some for the top.
Top each fillet with Italian bread crumbs and a pat of butter…
Bake in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes.

Baked Tomato Slices

Ingredients

1 large beefsteak tomato
2 ¼ inch thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
Several fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Directions

Cut the tomato in half horizontally. Place them I cut the dude up in a small baking dish.
Top with mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with oil.
Place in the oven for the last 5 minutes of the fish’s baking time.

Italian Style Rice And Peas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 green onion minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1 cup chicken stock
1 /2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Sauté green onion on a medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil until soft. Add garlic and rice. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook 15 minutes. Add the peas and parsley. Cover the pan and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the cheese snd serves with the fish.


Ingredients

4 servings

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can whole cherry tomatoes
1 cup seafood broth
2 tablespoons capers
2 lb skinless sea bass fillet, about 1 ½-inch thick, cut into 4 pieces
8 large fresh or frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 large sea scallops
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves stems removed
Crusty Italian bread for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with a cover over medium heat. Add onions, celery/ Cook, stirring regularly until softened (about 4 minutes). Add thyme, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook briefly until fragrant (about 30 more seconds).
Stir in the white wine. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper, and capers. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat until flavors combine.


Pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Insert the fish pieces into the cooking liquid, and give everything a gentle stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and cover the skillet. Let sit off the heat for another 5 minutes so that the fish will finish cooking. Fish should be flaky when gently pulled apart with a paring knife. Finally, stir in the chopped parsley.
Ladle the hot fish stew into serving bowls. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.



Ingredients

1 garlic clove grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
l1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
3 mini red sweet peppers, finely chopped
10 oz raw shrimp (about 18), peeled and chopped
6 oz firm white fish such as sea bass, chopped
8 oz lump crab meat
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
1 cup whole milk Ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for the top
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
24 large pasta shells

White Sauce
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning

Directions

Cook the jumbo shells in boiling salted water for two minutes less than the package instructions. Drain in a colander and run cold water over them for a minute or two. Place the shells on kitchen towels while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.Butter a large baking dish

In a skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add in garlic, onion, celery, and mini peppers, and cook until the vegetables are softened; about 3 minutes. Add in shrimp and sea bass and season with Old Bay seasoning. Cook until the shrimp become pink and the sea bass is cooked; about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, egg, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir in cooled shrimp mixture and crab meat.

In the same skillet, you cooked the shrimp in, bring the cream and milk to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, add the seafood seasoning. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the flour and parmesan cheese. Return to a simmer, and cook until the sauce thickens about 5 minutes.

Fill each pasta shell with 2 tablespoons of the seafood filling and place them in the baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the filled pasta shells in the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with a green mixed salad.


Sea Bass

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 lb sea bass fillets, ½-inch thick, cut into smaller portions

Caper Sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Season the fish with salt and pepper and brush the fillets with some of the sauce.

Heat a medium skillet and sear the fish on both sides about 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to low and pour the sauce over the fish and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Serve immediately.

Creamy Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 firm, medium-sized tomatoes

Filling
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 4 ears)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced scallion
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut off tops of tomatoes; remove seeds and pulp with a spoon. Leave a 1/2-inch wall of flesh around the inside of the tomato. Invert tomatoes on a paper towel to drain while preparing the filling.

Combine the corn with the rest of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and black pepper and fill with a generous amount of corn filling (amount will vary depending on the size of the tomatoes). Arrange stuffed tomatoes in a baking dish.

Bake tomatoes until the filling is hot and the cheese has melted 15–20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Patties

The potato cakes can bake in the oven along with the tomatoes in this dinner menu.

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup blanched finely ground almond flour (1 oz)
Cooked and mashed sweet potato (2 sweet potatoes)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sea salt, black pepper, honey, scallions, and thyme. Mix in the almond flour. Add the mashed sweet potato to the egg mixture. Mix well.

 

Using a ¼ cup scoop or measuring cup, form six mounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten with a spatula. Spray with oil.

Bake the sweet potato cakes for 15 minutes. Turn them over, spray with more oil and bake until browned and set, 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.


Sea Bass with Spinach Pesto

4 servings

Ingredients

1 lb Sea Bass fillets cut into ½ inch thick pieces
4 tablespoons butter
Spinach pesto, recipe below
Lemon quarters
Fish Coating
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Mix the flour and seasonings together. Coat the fish fillets in the flour mixture. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Place the coated fillets in the butter and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Cover each fillet with several tablespoons of spinach pesto and heat for 2 or 3 minutes.

Spinach Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup pine-pignoli (or any nuts) nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse.
Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch thick slices
5-6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, ½-inch thick
5-6 Pitted oil-cured olives
Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Arrange the tomato slices alternating with mozzarella slices on each serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil and top with olives.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus
Coarse sea salt to taste
Crushed black pepper to taste
!/4 teaspoons roasted garlic powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Remove the woody ends of the asparagus spears.

Arrange the asparagus spears on a foil-lined baking sheet and coat with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and the Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the cheese begins to brown and the spears are tender about10-12 minutes.


Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass With Lemon Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

1 lemon halved, seeds removed
2 (6-7ounces each) Chilean Sea Bass fillets skin removed, each cut in half
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or oregano

Directions

Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot, add lemon cut-side down. Coat fish in flour that has been mixed with salt and pepper. When the lemon just begins to brown, about 3 minutes, push them to one side of the skillet and add oil and fish. Cook until fish is browned and just opaque in the center, about 4 minutes per side, lowering heat if lemons and fish brown too quickly. Transfer fish and lemon to a serving plate.

Place the skillet over low heat and add shallot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook for 1 minute. Squeeze 2 lemon halves through a strainer into the skillet. Remove from heat and swirl in butter. Stir in thyme and pour the sauce over the fish.

Italian Farro

Ingredients

1 cup pearled farro
1 cup fresh apple cider
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Directions

Place the farro, apple cider, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the farro is tender. Drain the farro and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Discard the bay leaves.
Stir in the herbs and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients

2-10 oz packages frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium and let the spinach cook slowly until tender and silky., about 15 minutes.


This classic Italian sauce is called sugo alla puttanesca in Italian. Recipes may differ according to preferences; for instance, the Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies, unlike the Lazio version. Spices are sometimes added. In most cases, however, the sugo is a little salty (from the capers, olives, and anchovies) and quite fragrant (from the garlic). It is usually served with spaghetti but we like it with seafood.

Seafood in an Italian Spicy Tomato Sauce

2 servings

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 fish fillets,(I used sea bass) (about 1 1/2 inches thick 4 ounces each)
4 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
26 oz container finely diced Italian tomatoes (I used the Pomi brand)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers
2 1-inch-thick slices Italian bread brushed with olive oil and grilled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

For the sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet.
Add the anchovy paste and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and continue to stir.
Pour in the tomatoes, oregano and basil and heat to a simmer. Add the olives and capers and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thickened.

For the fish
Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Lightly flour the fish shaking off extra flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Brown the fish fillets and shrimp on both sides.

Pour a cup to 1 ½ cups of sauce over the fish in the small skillet and cover the skillet. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Save the remaining sauce for pasta.

Place a piece of grilled bread in each serving bowl. Divide the fish evenly and place it on top of the bread. Spoon the sauce over each portion and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.


oristanocover

oristanocover1

Oristano is a province on the island region of Sardinia in Italy. It is the smallest province in Sardinia. A large area of the province’s western coastline is part of the Gulf of Oristano and the land is mainly flat with some marshland. Oristano Province contains many protected areas: Monte Arci Regional Park, the Sinis Peninsula – Mal di Ventre Island Marine and the S’Archittu a Santa Caterina Natural Monument near Cuglieri. The Stagno di Mistras is a protected  breeding ground for gulls and flamingos.

oristanobeach

The province was founded in the 11th century BC by the people of Tharros. There is a monument to Eleonora d’Arborea, who was an important figure in Sardinian history and ruled the area from 1383 to 1404. The Tower of St. Christopher dates from 1291 and the cathedral, rebuilt in the 18th century, dates from 1288. Oristano is now an agricultural and fish-canning center.

oristano1

oristano2

A series of folkloric events and festivals are hosted here throughout the year. The most popular is the Sartiglia, a horse race of Medieval origins, held in Oristano on the last Sunday and Tuesday before Lent. San Salvatore hosts the traditional Corsa degli Scalzi (the Barefoot Race) that gathers hundreds of people on the first Saturday of September. They dress only in a white and carry a wooden statue of Jesus Christ from the village of Cabris to the Church of Cristo Salvatore. Sedillo, on July 6-7 hosts the Ardia, a horse race to honor Constantine I, the Roman Emperor. In Marrubiu, the honey, cheese, sausage and wine festival (sagra) takes place on the first Sunday of September.

pane carasau

pane carasau

This traditional, yet unique Sardinian cuisine combines food from the sea and the farms. The local specialities include pane carasau, thin sheets of flatbread that stay super crispy for days and go perfectly with Sardinian cheeses or with the local honey. All the cheeses and ricotta are made from ewes’ milk and range from very spicy to sweet.

bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs)

bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs)

Most popular is bottarga (salted, pressed and dried mullet eggs) that are either sliced or grated over pasta and other foods. Fregola, small balls of handmade pasta similar to couscous, are served with seafood. Lorighittas are a special pasta made out of two thin pasta ropes wound together and usually served with sausage and tomato sauce. Panadas are oven baked pies with meat, fish or vegetables.

 fiore sardo cheese

fiore sardo cheese

Other specialties include malloreddus alla oristanese (gnocchi made from durum wheat and served with spinach, beets, eggs and heavy cream, myrtle hen (a hen boiled with aromatic herbs and myrtle branches) and su ghisa is a stew prepared with different types of meat.

Vernaccia di Oristano

Vernaccia di Oristano Grapes

Noteworthy wines include the Arborea, Vernaccia di Oristano (a world-famous wine), Nuragus, Vermentin, Sangiovese, Semidano, Moscato and Bovale.

Lorighittas

oristanopasta

Small rings of double twisted fresh pasta called lorighittas are typical in the province of Oristano. Traditionally, lorighittas are seasoned with a sauce made from tomatoes and free range rooster, or a meat ragu or a sauce made with beans, ricotta and saffron. At the beginning of August, a festival takes place where you can watch the local women making this pasta. If you calculate that 16 lorighittas make a serving then it will take at least 3 hours to prepare the dough for 4/5 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 lbs (600 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) table salt
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons (10 grams) extra virgin olive oil

Directions

On a board or counter mix all the ingredients: flour, water, oil and salt until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and pinch off a piece of dough. Roll it into a long string about ⅛ inch thick (0.2 cm diameter).

Roll the string up with a double turn of the strand on three fingers (index finger, middle and ring) and make a double ring. Cut off the excess dough.

Twist the two “strands” of dough between your fingers to form a braid.

oristano7

Spicy Tomato Sauce for Lorighitta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Two garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cups oven roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly grated fiore sardo cheese, to taste

Directions

In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil, then add the smashed garlic and chili pepper.

Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove garlic and add salt, to taste.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then add the Lorighittas. The time needed is a bit variable, depending on the size of Lorighittas, how dry they are, etc.

Stop the cooking process when the Lorighittas are ready by pouring a glass of cold water into the pot, stir and, then, drain the Lorighittas.

Place the drained pasta in a bowl and toss with some tomato sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve immediately.

oristano8

Sea Bass in Vernaccia di Oristano Wine

Vernaccia di Oristano is a white Italian wine grape variety grown on the island of Sardinia that is designated Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) of Vernaccia di Oristano based in the province of Oristano.  Vernaccia di Oristano is a distinct variety that is not related to the Tuscan wine grape Vernaccia used to make Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sea bass
  • 1 small onion. finely chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leafed parsley
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup black olives
  • 1 cup Vernaccia di Oristano wine

Directions

Clean, scale and wash the bass.

In a large skillet with a cover, sauté the onion chopped, some finely chopped parsley and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. As soon as the onion becomes golden, add the sea bass and the remaining olive oil. Cook over low heat for ten minutes, turning the bass over after 5 minutes. Add the olives and Vernaccia, cover the pan and cook until the fish is done. Divide each fish in half and serve with the sauce.

oristano6

 

Winter Vegetables with Bottarga

Sardinian caviar is found in mullet. The mullet is greatly appreciated in Sardinia for its eggs. These eggs are washed, placed in a wooden box and covered with salt, then pressed to make them flat. It is a favorite garnish in Sardinia called Bottarga and it is used to top a wide variety of dishes. The first people to salt and season the egg sacks of mullet were the Phoenicians.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 small fresh carrots with tops
  • 2 heads of fennel
  • 4 chard leaves
  • 40g mullet bottarga
  • Large pinch of dried chili flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 ½ fl oz (100 ml) good, delicate olive oil

Directions

Prepare the vegetables:

Peel the carrots, leaving a little bit of the green top on them — if large, split in half lengthways. Remove the outer layer of fennel and cut the fennel into six or eight wedges depending on its size. Cut the chard leaves in half.

Boil a large pot of salted water.

Grate the bottarga finely into a mixing bowl and add the chili, lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the boiling pasta water. Let rest for a few minutes, then mix with a whisk to make a smooth paste. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk to make a light emulsion.

Boil the vegetables — they should all take roughly the same time, but you may have to scoop out the chard leaves early, if the stalks are thin. You want the vegetables to be soft enough to cut with a fork, but not mushy. Drain the vegetables and mix them with the bottarga sauce. Serve warm.

oristano5

Sardinian Amaretti Cookies

Traditionally these cookies are mixed by hand.

Makes about 13-14 amaretti.

Ingredients

  • 9 oz (250 g) finely ground almonds
  • 2 drops of almond extract
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 small lemon, zested
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Extra sugar for coating your hands

Directions

Preheat the oven to 160 °C (330 °F)

Place almonds, sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl

Add egg whites a little at a time.

Place extra granulated sugar on a plate.

Dampen the palms of your hands with a little cold water and press them into sugar on the plate. This helps to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.

Roll a small quantity of mixture into a ball (roughly the size of a ping-pong ball).

Roll the ball in the dish of extra sugar.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Oristanomap


puglia-italy

Puglia is a flat, fertile, sun soaked region in southern Italy which, together with its iron rich soil makes it one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country. It is famous for its olive oil and produces between 250,000 and 300,000 tons each year. Puglia provides around 40 percent of the country’s extra virgin olive oil.

Durum wheat grows in abundance and is used for making pasta and bread. The pasta from Puglia is made without eggs as they were once considered to be a luxury. The most famous pasta made in Puglia is ‘oricchiette’ (meaning little ears) which is still made daily by the elder women in most of the small villages.

The bread in Puglia, which accompanies all meals, is more diverse than many other regions in Italy and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is cooked in traditional wood burning bread ovens and some of the villages still have a communal bread oven where the locals go to bake their bread every day.

Vegetables obviously grow well in the warm climate and are used in abundance, always fresh and always seasonal. Tomatoes are used for making sauces to go with the local pasta and aubergines, peppers and courgettes are roasted and grilled as an accompaniment to meat.

The interior of Puglia is rocky and many sheep and goats are bred there for their meat as well as their milk which is used for a variety of cheeses. Lamb is the most popular meat, followed by pork.

Puglia has many delicious local cheeses, perhaps the most famous being Burrata which is made from mozzarella and cream. Others include Cacioricotta – a seasonal Ricotta cheese made from unpasteurized ewes’ milk, Canestrato – a hard cheese which is a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk, Fallone di Gravina and Caciofiore.

Fish plays a large part in the cuisine of Puglia and the long coastline offers a large array of fresh fish on a daily basis. Sea bass, red mullet, anchovies, mussels and cuttlefish are among the favorites.

In spite of this excess of food, the daily cuisine in Puglia, as in the other southern regions of Italy, tends to be simple, fresh and wholesome with most locals growing, rearing and making enough for their individual needs.

Puglia 6

Dinner Party Menu For Six

Antipasto

Puglia 1

Pepperoni al Forno (Baked Peppers)

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 sweet bell peppers (green and red)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Place the peppers in a hot oven (400 degrees F) for about half an hour or under the broiler until the skins start to blacken. Take them out of the oven, cool and then peel off the skins.
Cut the peppers into strips, about 2 inches wide.

Grease the bottom of a baking pan with olive oil and place a layer of peppers. Sprinkle a few capers, a few slices of garlic, some of the chopped anchovy fillets, a sprinkle of bread crumbs and a little salt and pepper on the peppers. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used.

When the top layer is finished, drizzle with olive oil. Then place the pan in a 400 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are tender and the bread crumbs are brown.

puglia 5

Taralli Scaldati (Dry Bread)

Ingredients

  • 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 14 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Warm water

Directions

Combine the all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until thoroughly combined. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes. Soften the dough by adding a little warm water, if it seems too dry.

Turn the dough out onto a bread board and roll pieces of the dough into long thin stripes about 4-5 inches long. Loop the ends around to form circles or pretzel shapes and space them out on wax paper to rest for to rise for 15 minutes covered with a clean kitchen cloth.

Heat the oven to 400° F.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and drop a few of the taralli in the boiling water for a minute, turn with and cook another minute. Remove the boiled taralli with a slotted spoon to a wire rack to dry for a minute or two.

Place them on an oiled baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until brown and crispy. Cool completely.

First Course

Puglia 2

Tubettini con le Cozze

(Small Pasta Tubes with Mussels)

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 lb tubettini pasta (little tubes)

Directions

Wash the mussels well under running water and pull out the beards (the stringy bits hanging out of the shell) and place them in a bowl of cold water.

Heat a large pot of water for the pasta and when it comes to the boil add salt and the pasta tubes.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a cover and add the chopped garlic. Cook for a minute and add the cherry tomatoes. Once they soften, add the white wine and bring to a boil so the alcohol evaporates. Season with salt and the crushed red pepper and add the mussels. Cover with the lid and cook until all the mussels open.

Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the mussels in the skillet, along with the chopped parsley and reserves pasta cooking liquid. Mix well on a low heat for a minute and serve.

Second Course

Puglia 3

Roasted Striped Bass

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large fresh fennel bulbs with fronds attached, trimmed; bulbs quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced; fronds chopped and reserved for garnish
  • 1 large red onion, halved lengthwise through root end, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 3 – 1 1/2-pounds whole striped bass or fish that is available in your area, cleaned, gutted, scaled 
  • 1/4 cup (about) all-purpose flour
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted, halved

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

Boil wine in a medium saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

Generously brush an 18 x 12 x 1 inch baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange fennel slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Top with onion slices in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over the vegetables.

Rinse fish inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fish inside and out with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lightly dust outside of fish with flour. Pour enough olive oil into extra-large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan; heat over medium-high heat until pan is very hot.

Working with one fish at a time, add fish to the skillet and cook until a golden crust forms on the skin, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining fish. Add more oil, only if necessary.Carefully place fish on top of the vegetables on the baking sheet. Gently stuff the cavity of each fish with 2 crushed garlic cloves and then 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Pour reserved wine over vegetables on the baking sheet.

Roast fish uncovered until vegetables begin to soften, 35 to 40 minutes. Scatter tomato halves and olives around the fish; bake until fish is just cooked through, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer fish to large platter; cover with foil to keep warm.

Increase oven temperature to 475°F. Continue to bake vegetables uncovered until tender and tomatoes are very soft and beginning to color in spots, about 15 minutes more.
Arrange vegetable mixture around the fish on a serving platter. Sprinkle chopped fennel fronds and serve.

Dessert

puglia 4

Baked Zeppole

Ingredients for the pastry dough

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 large eggs

Ingredients for the custard filling

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Jam

To make the pastry:

In a heavy saucepan, heat the water. Add the butter and the salt and remove from the stove once the butter has melted. Add the flour all at once. Beat with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to medium heat and beat the mixture until it forms a ball. Remove the pan from the heat again. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating the dough with a wooden spoon or hand mixer.

Note – make sure to blend in each egg well before proceeding to add in the next one.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Drop 1 1/4-inch portions of dough about 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake the puffs about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F and then for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Transfer the pastries to cooling racks.

To make the custard:

In a medium bowl, mix the cornstarch and sugar for the filing. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it’s almost boiling. Add the 6 eggs to the sugar and the cornstarch and gradually add a couple of large spoonfuls of the warm milk. When it’s well-blended, pour it into the pot with the rest of the milk and continue to cook until the mixture thickens.

To serve:

Use a small knife to cut each zeppole in half. Fill each zeppole with some custard, replace the top half and put the zeppole on a serving dish. Add a teaspoon of jam to each zeppole and dust them with confectioner’s sugar.


Key ingredients of the Mediterranean cuisine include olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine and red meat. The flavors are rich and the health benefits for people choosing a Mediterranean diet — one of the world’s healthiest — are hard to ignore. These people are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or become obese.

Numerous research studies suggest that the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may be many: improved weight loss, better control of blood glucose (sugar) levels and reduced risk of depression, to name a few. Eating like a Mediterranean has also been associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re trying to eat foods that are better for your heart, start with the principles of Mediterranean cooking.

Stock your pantry and cook at home.

Use whole, unprocessed ingredients and control portion sizes, salt and calories.

Make sure your pantry and freezer are stocked with Mediterranean-inspired staples like canned tomatoes, olives, whole-wheat pasta and frozen vegetables.

Love Italian food, then a bowl of pasta for dinner is a no-brainer. Typical standbys are Penne with Vodka Sauce or Pasta with Broccoli Rabe.

Experiment with “real” whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined. Quinoa, a grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet, cooks up in just 20 minutes, making it a great side dish for weeknight meals. Barley is full of fiber and it’s filling. Pair it with mushrooms for a steamy, satisfying soup. A hot bowl of oatmeal with some fresh summer berries is perfect for breakfast. Even popcorn is a whole grain—just keep it healthy by eating air-popped corn and forgo the butter (try a drizzle of olive oil instead).

Supplement your intake with other whole-grain products, like whole-wheat bread and pasta. Look for the term “whole” or “whole grain” on the food package and in the ingredient list—it should be listed as the first ingredient. But if you still find it too hard to make the switch from your old refined favorites, phase in a whole grain by using whole-grain blends of pastas and rice or mixing whole grains half-and-half with a refined one (like half whole-wheat pasta and half white).

By displacing meat at some meals, you can lower your saturated-fat intake while adding healthful nutrients, like fiber and antioxidant-rich flavonoids. If you eat meat every day right now, try making a vegetarian dinner, like Multi-Bean Chili, once a week. Swap out most of your red meat and replace it with skinless chicken and turkey, fish, beans, nuts and other plants. Start by making a few small changes.

Aim to eat fish of any kind—except for fried, of course—twice a week. Fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna are especially good choices: they are rich in omega-3s, a type of polyunsaturated fat, linked with improved heart health. Make the focus of the meal whole grains and vegetables and think of meat as a flavoring; for example, use a little diced pancetta in a tomato sauce for pasta. If you do have a hankering for a steak, it’s OK to indulge, just do so occasionally and choose a lean cut, like top loin, sirloin, flank steak or strip steak and limit your portion size to 4 ounces.

Use heart-healthy olive oil as well as other plant-based oils like canola and walnut oil instead of saturated-fat-laden butter, lard or shortening—even in baking. There are many dessert recipes now that use olive oil instead of butter. Olive oil is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil seasoned with balsamic vinegar is delicious for dipping bread and is a healthier alternative to butter. Other plant-based oils, such as canola or walnut oil, are also rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

Aim for 4 to 8 servings of vegetables a day. A serving size is 1/2 to 2 cups depending on the vegetable. Pick vegetables in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins. Start your day out with a spinach and Cheddar omelet, have a bowl of vegetable soup for lunch and have roasted carrots and a green salad for dinner. Big green salads are a great way to include several vegetable servings at once.

Snack on a handful of almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds in place of chips, cookies or other processed snack foods, which are often loaded with sugars, saturated fat and trans fats. Calcium-rich low-fat cheese or low-fat and nonfat plain yogurt with fresh fruit are other healthy and portable snacks.

Generally a good source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants, fresh fruit is a healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth. If it helps you to eat more, drizzle slices of pear with honey or sprinkle a little brown sugar on grapefruit. Keep fresh fruit visible at home and keep a piece or two at work so you have a healthful snack when your stomach starts growling. Lots of grocery stores stock exotic fruit—pick a new one to try each week and expand your fruit horizons.

Research indicates that people who drink moderately are less likely to have heart disease than those who abstain. Alcohol appears to raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Wine, in particular, “thins” the blood (making it less prone to clotting) and also contains antioxidants that prevent your arteries from taking up LDL cholesterol, a process that can lead to plaque buildup. Remember, “1 drink” equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of liquor.

Eating like a Mediterranean is as much lifestyle as it is diet. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating. Not only will you enjoy your company and your food, eating slowly allows you to tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals. You’re more apt to eat just until you’re satisfied then until you’re busting-at-the-seams full. This is the perfect time of year to make some changes to your diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and local fresh caught fish is more available. These delicious dinners can all be enjoyed during a leisurely, relaxing dinner on the patio on a warm summer evening.

Fusilli with Green Beans, Pancetta and Parmigiano

Serves three.

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb. whole grain fusilli or other twisted pasta
  • 4 oz. pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2 -inch squares (3/4 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled but kept whole
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (2 cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Directions:

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just barely al dente, about 1 minute less than package timing. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, put the pancetta in a cold 10-inch skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the pancetta starts sizzling, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to brown, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the pancetta until golden, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. If the pancetta has rendered a lot of its fat, spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan.

Add the beans to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they’re crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic and season the beans with salt and pepper. With the pan still over medium heat, add the pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the olive oil. Toss to combine. Add another 1/4 cup pasta water and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add a little more pasta water to loosen the sauce. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Grind black pepper over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Sea Bass With Citrus-Olive-Caper Sauce

Buy Eco-friendly Mid-Atlantic Sea Bass

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 sea bass fillets (about 5 oz each), skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 lemons, peeled and thinly sliced, segments halved
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped

Directions:

Place broiler pan as close to heating element as possible and heat 5 minutes. On a plate, coat fillets on both sides with 1 tablespoons oil. Carefully remove pan from broiler and place on the stovetop.

Arrange fillets on pan, skin side down; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Broil fish 6 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together lemon slices, juice, oregano, capers, olives, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoons pepper.

Place fish on platter; top with citrus-olive-caper sauce.

Grilled Chicken with Feta and Red Pepper Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients:

Grilled chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Red pepper sauce:

  • 2 pounds grilled red bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces sliced feta cheese (4 slices)

Spinach leaves for serving plate

Directions:

To prepare chicken: place chicken, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a zip-top plastic bag; place in refrigerator and marinate 2 to 24 hours.

To grill the peppers: preheat grill. Place peppers on the grill and cook, turning until charred all over. Place peppers in a paper or plastic bag to let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers.

To prepare sauce: place grilled peppers, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender; puree until smooth.

Preheat grill to medium and oil grill grates. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chicken 7 minutes, turn, place feta cheese slices on top of the chicken and cook 7 more minutes or until cooked through.

Arrange spinach on serving plate, top with chicken and serve with red pepper sauce.

Orange and Olive Salad

Serve with flatbread or pita.

Ingredients:

  • Two heads romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1/2 cup black oil-cured olives, pitted, sliced in half
  • 1/2 red onion, diced small
  • 2 oranges, peeled and chopped
  • Orange slices and orange zest for garnish

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Directions:

Wash and dry the romaine and arugula. Toss in a large bowl with the olives, onion and oranges.

Add freshly ground black pepper to taste (the olives may be salty, so don’t add any salt at this point).

Whisk the dressing ingredients, seasoning it to taste. Slowly pour some of the dressing over the salad while tossing well to coat all.

Be careful not to use too much dressing for the amount of greens. Garnish with very thin slices of orange and orange zest.

Spaghettini with Tomatoes, Anchovies and Almonds

6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, cored and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded basil leaves
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Large pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 3 large oil-packed anchovies
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound swhole grain paghettini (thin spaghetti)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the diced tomatoes with the shredded basil, scallions, olive oil and crushed red pepper. Season lightly with salt and black pepper and let the tomatoes stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, pulse the almonds with the anchovies and garlic until finely chopped. Add the 1/2 cup of pecorino cheese and the capers and pulse to combine.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve a little pasta water in case the sauce needs thinning. Drain pasta and add the pasta to the tomatoes along with the chopped almond mixture and toss well. Serve the pasta, passing extra cheese at the table.

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage

For stuffing:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large cabbage

Cooking sauce for cabbage rolls

  • 3 containers (26-28 oz. size) tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring 2 cups of water to boil, adding the rice and turmeric. Return to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Cook the lentils in 3 cups of boiling water until soft.

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil in a skillet.

Mix the cooking sauce ingredients together in a bowl.

For the filling: in a large bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables, rice, lentils, almonds and raisins.

Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup filling, beginning at the thick end of the leaf. Fold this end over the filling, folding the edges in as you go to make a neat roll.

Place the rolls in one or two casseroles, covering with the sauce.

Bake the cabbage rolls covered at 350 degrees F, 45-60 minutes until cabbage is tender. Cool slightly and serve from the dish they were baked in.



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