Seafood Risotto


The inspiration for making this dish (as always) is that we recently visited our favorite fisherman store not far from Jaffa port. They have huge variety of fresh fish and seafood. The mussels were so fresh, that even after spending a couple of days in a refrigerator they were still in a top shape and almost all “opened up” when being cooked.

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It is absolutely crucial to use fresh seafood for this risotto. Don’t even bother trying this with frozen or pre-cooked ones.

Ingredients:

(For 6-7 portions)
A pinch of Saffron “threads”
1.5 liter of fish stock
300 ml. of dry white wine
0.5 kg. shripms
1 kg. mussels
2-3 crabs
6 small calamari
75 gr. butter
1 onion finely chopped
500 gr. of large round risotto rice
Parsley for serving

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Sicilian Caponata


I have tasted my first Caponata in a nice traditional restaurant in Catania (Sicily). The dish was so good, I ended up literally licking the cup that was used to serve it and asking for some more. As for the restaurant, named I Crociferi (the Crusaders), it was something special. Lets set aside the fact that the food was very good, and the selection of fresh fish and sea food was absolutely out of this world (which is pretty normal for Sicily), the place itself was memorable. Imagine being sent back in time for, say, 40 years or so… Large hall (30-40 tables) with tall arches separating it to a number of areas. The tables, made of dark wood, were covered with flawlessly white cloth. A memorable experience…..

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Caponata is a widely prepared salad in Sicily, heavily based on eggplants. We’ve tried many versions of it and all other ingredients could vary (sometimes it would have some local flavors, depending on the are of Sicily you are in). Here’s what I managed to taste in the majority of them: tomatoes (of course), tomato paste, olives (green or black or both), capers, red pepper, chili pepper, vinegar (wine vinegar). Almost in every traditional Sicilian restaurant, you’d get a version of this salad with local bread.

When preparing mine, I was trying to emulate the most memorable one – the one from I Crociferi. It definitely isn’t identical, but quite similar and, regardless to authenticity, very tasty. Every time I am making this dish, I start remembering the vacation and the restaurant, so for me, its always a double pleasure 🙂

Ingredients:

(For half-a-liter of salad)
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium-sized eggplants
2 tomatoes
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp of small capers (salted)
7-8 green olives
2 tsp. tomato paste
50 ml. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

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Zuppa di Pesce con Faggioli


I have tasted this Italian-style fish soup with beans at my sister’s. If you follow the proper procedure, making it can take up to 1.5 hours, but you prepare the fish stock in advance (and freeze it for later use), the whole process can go much faster.

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Ingredients for the fish stock:

A head and a spine of a large white-fleshed fish (in my case I’ve used a meagre)
1 branch of celery
Parsley and silantro
1 branch of basil
1 (!!) whole allspice berry
3 berries of white pepper
2 liter water

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Roast Lamb with Bread Crust and Pesto


I’ve made this dish for the birthday of my elder daughter in March. We’ve hosted the close family (15 people) and my goal was to create a special meat dish. So, my husband was sent to our butcher and was asked to bring home lamb meat.

The recipe was influenced by this idea of Tuscan-style Lamb Bread. The following yields approximately 8 portions…

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Ingredients:

1 read lamb leg, approximately 2.5-3 kilograms of weight

Pesto:
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/3 bunch of cilantro
1/3 bunch of mint
2 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves
3 rosemary sprigs
Salt
Chili (the amount depends on one’s taste)
Juice of 1/3 lemon
1/2 glass olive oil
1/3 glass of pine nuts

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Passion-fruit Tiramisu


This dessert was made for a dairy dinner celebrating 1st birthday of our youngest daughter Amy. This is a quick version of tiramisu, based on biscuits prepared (or even purchased :-)) in advance….

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Ingredients:

400 gr. “lady finger” biscuits

For the mousse:

75 gr. Passoa liqueur
75 gr. water
100 gr. sugar
3 egg yolks
500 gr. mascarpone
250 gr. cream

For the liquid used for soaking the biscuits:

40 g. lemon juice
25 gr. Passoa liqueur
15 gr. water
50 oz. sugar

3 passion-fruits

Preparation:

  1. First the liquid for soaking the biscuits – mix all the ingredients in the bowl and dissolve the sugar
  2. Warm the liquid a bit, but no need to boil it
  3. Now to the mousse/cream – start with beating/whipping the mascarpone and the cream in separate bowls
  4. Mix the liqueur with water and sugar in a pan, while stirring and bring to boiling. Then remove from the heat
  5. With a mixer (in a bowl), beat the egg yolks on high speed, and then, without stopping the rotating mixer start pouring in the syrup obtained in #4. The volume of the resulting substance will grow significantly at this stage
  6. Take the resulting (in #5) cream, first using about 1/3 of it, and, using a spoon, mix it into the whipped mascarpone, until obtaining a uniform mass. Then repeat the operation with the remaining part of the cream
  7. Afterwards, do the same with the whipped cream
  8. Now to the biscuits – soak them quickly in the soaking liquid and lay them out at the bottom of the form (we usually use a rectangular baking form). On top of the formed layer, spread approximately 1/2 of the mixed mascarpone/cream
  9. Cut the passion-fruits in halves, remove the pulp from 3 halves and spread it on top of the cream
  10. Repeat the same layers as in #8 and #9
  11. Keep it in refrigerator for a day, after which the tiramisu will keep its form and it will be very easy to cut it into serving portions

* The above process has been inspired by the Mango Tiramisu preparation by La Patissiere, but the ingredients and the proportions were modified/adjusted

 

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Squid Risotto


I always keep cleaned frozen squids in a freezer, just in case a quick impromptu meal might be needed. The below is an example of such case, it was half past noon in Saturday, lunch was approaching and I didn’t have anything ready. So, this is what happened:

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The only difficult thing about making risotto is that you need to keep on stirring it all the time, therefore, if you are alone in the kitchen, you can’t cook anything else at the same time.

Ingredients:

The below list is good for two servings:

10 small peeled/cleaned calamari (approximately 10cms length)
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
15 gr. butter
1 glass risotto rice
1/2 glass dry white wine
3 glasses fish stock
1/2 glass low-fat cream
1/2 glass grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chives (finely cut)
Basil leaves from 2 branches (finely cut)
Salt

Process:

Cut the onion and the garlic into small cubes. Cut the squid into rings (try to keep right width about 1cm). Boil the fish stock and add the squid. Bring to boiling again and then remove the squid from the stock using a perforated spoon (a.k.a. skimmer) – we will cook them some more with the risotto.

Heat the butter (until liquid) in a wide pan with thick bottom. Add the onion and the garlic and saute it for a couple of minutes on high heat while stirring, until the onion become transparent and the garlic starts producing a strong “fried garlic” smell. Add the rice and stir/mix to cover everything with the liquid butter. Pour in the wine and cook (stirring) until the wine is absorbed. Start adding the fish stock with a ladle. After adding each ladle of stock, stir until the absorption of the liquid and then repeat. After all the stock is absorbed, add salt, pour in the cream, add calamari and the finely cut chives and basil. Cook (while stirring) for 4-5 more minutes until the rice is ready.

Add the Parmesan cheese, stir again and the meal is ready!

If you liked this recipe, check out the following related dishes:

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Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..