Thursday, 11 September 2014

Panzanella - Tuscan Bread salad

Panzanella is the Tuscan name of this cold salad that has a very humble origin but such a great taste!
I ate it the first time in Lucca, and it was so delicious that I asked the recipe to the lady of the deli. She said that this recipe is rather common in the central regions of Italy and that it can also  be enriched with canned tuna or boiled eggs.
For this very first time I followed the original recipe and let you guess all the variations you want. italian food recipe

The ingredients are very easy to find, they come directly from the orchard and from the pantry. If you use stale traditional Tuscan bread (or any unsalted rustic bread) the result will be great!
If onions are too strong for you, cut them first and wash the little pieces under the running water and then dry them with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.
As in many traditional Italian recipes, the quantities are not fixed, follow your taste and add a little more of this or that as you like!


Ingredients for 4

12 slices (about 400 grs/1 lb) stale rustic bread
3 ripe tomatoes cut into very small pieces
1 red onion cut into very small pieces
2 small cucumbers cut into very small pieces
15 small basil leaves broken into pieces
3 tablespoon Vinegar
Glass of water
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

How to:

1) Cut the bread into thick slices and put it into a bowl.

2) Add a table spoon of wine vinegar to a glass of water and pour them on the bread. The bread must be wet but not too soaked.

3) Squeeze the bread to drain it well and break it with your hands. Put it in a large bowl.

 4) Cut the vegetables into small pieces, and discard most of the tomato seeds.

5) Put all the vegetables in the bowl with the bread, mix well with your hands, add salt, pepper and oil and mix again. Taste it and some more oil or salt if needed.
6) Refrigerate for an hour or so and take out of fridge about 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Figs with prosciutto

September is here!

Figs are at their best, so I would like to suggest you a different way to enjoy a great Italian classic food - prosciutto and figs, in a slightly different recipe.

I think it is a great appetiser and they always have a great success. thE crispy warm salty prosciutto, the  sweet fig and the creamy filling are a great treat!.
Do not miss the chance to try them while the figs are still available!

Ingredients for 4

8 figs
8 thin slices of Italian prosciutto
8 tea spoons of goat ricotta (or fresh goat cheese)

How to

1) Peel the figs and make a cross cut on top, without cutting them all the way though.

2) Gently put some cheese inside the fig.

3) Wrap each fig in a slice of prosciutto - greasy side on top and put it in a heat safe tray

4) Heat the grill at 220°C - and grill the figs for 2-3 minutes. You will smell the prosciutto while it crisps and see a little smoke. Do not over cook them!

5) Serve immediately with a glass of dry Franciacorta.

TIP: if you want to prepare them in advance, prepare them and - before cooking - refrigerate in an air tight container up to 6 hours before.