Sept 11 – recipes… 2

Oh gosh, let’s see. My brain is about full but I’ll do what I can.

Peperoni in agrodolce – sweet, sweet red peppers chopped/sliced (almost diced). In a dry pan, fry on HIGH heat so the natural sugar in the peppers begins to caramelize. When you hear that they are done (sizzle sizzle, mmmm), add some oil (peanut oil has a high flash point so it is preferred). Cut one onion in half and set the other aside for later. Take the onion and slice it very very thinly. (we only used 1/4 onion) Add onion. Still on high, add 2 Tablespoons good vinegar, 5 good pinches of sugar, and when that starts to caramelize, cover and reduce to simmer for 10 – 20 minutes.

Sgombri (Mackerel) con nettarne is a “light opener dish” served first. It’s 2 nectarines, diced. Add (good) olive oil, sprinkle with fresh mint (torn) and a dash of balsamic. (edit: toss in cooked, flaked mackerel). Mackerel is cooked on high heat, maybe 2 minutes each side.) I don’t think there was anything else but I’ll think on it.

The Pasta con acciughe e mollica is pasta with anchovies and mackerel. To a pan, sardines, 3 sage leaves and 4 sprigs parsley. As it cooks, “mashed the anchovies almost into a paste).  Toast semolina bread crumbs in a dry pan. The bread crumbs are toasty and crunchy and will be sprinkled on top of the pasta in place of grated Parm. I was told that “the poor” used breadcrumbs in this dish instead of cheese because the cheese was expensive and leftover bread could be used. In yet another pan, fry the slicked mackerel (narrow strips, skin side down) for a couple minutes until done. Let stand, then dice. Add to the anchovies. Add pasta (which has been boiling) into the anchovy pan to “finish and toss”.  Serve by topping with the bread crumbs.

Cotoletta di sarde is sardine cutlets. We got them fresh and whole so I learned how to clean and prepare them. Wow! They are breaded with semolina bread crumbs. You can get them already made, just add 4 – 6 basil leaves (finely chopped) and a bunch of parsley (finely chopped.) Set the crumbs aside. First, turn the large sardines (1 kilo) into cutlets. Then, in a bowl, combine 2 beaten eggs, 2 pinches salt, spalsh of good vinegar, and which together well. Dip cutlets in egg mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs, pressing firmly. Heat pan and add oil. When hot, fry cutlets for ~1 minute per side (until golden brown).

Eggplant Parmigiana & Fresh tomato sauce. The sauce goes (lightly) over the pasta. This is a modern update on the “traditional” dish. The sauce was made from scratch. Tomatoes, the other 1/2 of the onion (thick slices). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium for about 20 ish minutes. Pour through a food mill to remove seeds and make smooth. Return to pot and add 2 large clove of garlic each sliced in half and a dash of oil. Keep warm but bubble. Eggplant: stand on end and slice top to bottom for slices, not across. Place slices on a plate, lightly sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place next layer of slices on the first, lightly salt, continue until the eggplant is all sliced. Place paper towel on table, one slice of eggplant, cover with another paper towel, press down FIRMLY. Move slice to new plate and continue until all slices have been pressed.
   Step one – DRY nonstick-frypan, very deep. Get it very hot. Fry each slice for 15 – 30 seconds then remove.
   Step two – now that each slice has been seared, add 1 – 2 fingers of oil into the pan. Get it very hot. When very hot, fry (again) each slice for 15 – 30 seconds each side (I did 30 – 60 to get them brown) but don’t over lap them. Allow excess oil to drip off slice when removing it from the fry pan. Continue until they’re all fried.

In a baking dish, put a thin layer of sauce (enough to cover but not too much). One layer of eggplant. One layer of sliced parm (thin or thick, your choice) leaving space between the slices so you can see the eggplant beneath.  Add 3 – 4 basil leaves (torn small). Add a tiny bit of black pepper (or red if you like). Start over until all the eggplant is gone. If the day isn’t hot, bake for 10 – 15 minutes (to warm it). If it is a hot day, serve the dish cold since all the ingredients are already cooked.

OK, now I’m going to bed. :-)

P.S.  I’ll try to get the translating for “Sgombri” and some of the other words. I think I’m also missing an ingredient for that one.

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