Monday, August 31, 2009
Italy and the Summer Bounty
The reason our summer produce reminds me so much of Italian food is because the taste of simply, freshly prepared food with seasonal ingredients cant be beat. Wherever you are in Italy you will be served foods of that region. In southern Italy you will eat mostly vegetable based dishes with many that include fish. There are beef based dishes but the area is better known for its seafood, lamb and pork. The growing season is much longer in the south because it is much hotter for a longer period of time. Tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash and peppers are the most popular vegetables grown. Very similar too our hot Southern California climate, which produces bounties of the same types vegetables. Mount Vesuvius brings San Marzano plum tomatoes, which are so incredibly rich and flavorful (this is what their red sauces are generally made from), Sorrento has superb walnuts, and the Gargano Peninsula brings fruity olive oils. The following recipes are inspired by thoughts of Italy and the beautiful summer bounty that we have.
Zucchini in Padella
This is great for anti pasta platters, in a pasta dish, on grilled baguette or as a side dish.
You can substitute the anchovy filets for thinly cliced prosciutto.
Yield: 3-4 as a side dish
1/2-cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced shallots
1 red chili, sliced
1/2 cup Purple Cherry Tomatoes or diced Brandy Wine Tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh marjoram
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 anchovy filets, in olive oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Cut zucchini in 1/2-inch pieces.
Put 1/2-cup olive oil into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic, shallots and red chili. Sauté for 30 seconds then add tomatoes and sauté for about 1 minute. Add zucchini, marjoram, salt and pepper and sauté about 5 more minutes. When zucchini is tender add the anchovy fillets and the lemon. Stir for 1 minute until the anchovies are melted and broken up. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.