Panzanella Pantesca

July 17, 2014

This year we went all out with the tomatoes. We planted a bunch of different varieties hoping to get different flavors, colors and sizes. In these last few days we have harvested 10 -12 boxes every day. Carlo’s granny Rosa is making tomato sauce to preserve for the winter. We are eating, giving away and paying for our breakfasts in the bar with tomatoes.

Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan bread salad. Here is a local version with anchovies and the Rolls Royce, the Bentley, rather, of capers “Capperi di Pantelleria.”  This panzanella is a perfect light and satisfying meal to enjoy on a hot summer’s day. Invite some friends for lunch, pop a chilled bottle of prosecco and dig in.


Panzanella Pantesca
Serves 6-8
1/2 Loaf of old white bread
1/2 Cup (1.2 dl) extra virgin olive oil
3 Each cloves of garlic
2 Pounds (1 kilo) of mixed variety of tomatoes
1 Red small sized onion
1 Fresh red chili pepper minced
1/3 Cup ( 0.8 dl) black olives
4 Tablespoon rinsed and drained salt packed capers ( Capperi di Pantelleria)
20 Small fillets of anchovies packed in oil (reserve oil for dressing)
1 Bunch of basil leaves
1 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoon of the oil that contains the anchovies
Sea salt flakes and fresh ground pepper to your taste

Break bread into bite sized pieces, in a saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil add crush the cloves of garlic add to the pan, then add in a little sea salt flakes. Toast the bread in the pan with seasoned garlic oil until it’s golden. Remove toasted bread from the pan place on top of a paper lined tray and set a side. Let any left over oil cool and reserve to use in the dressing.

Wash and remove the outer skin of the red onion. Cut off the stem side, lay flat on the cut surface and proceed to cut the onion in half. Remove the root core then length wise cutting stem to root cut the onion into strips.

Finely chop the chlli pepers, wash, core and cut the tomatoes into wedges.

Combine in a large bowl the bread, tomatoes and onions, capers, olives, anchovies and basil leaves.

In a small bowl whisk together, balsamic vinegar, rest of the olive oil, 2 Tablespoon of anchovies oil, the red chili, pepper and sea salt.

Pour dressing over the top of the bread, tomatoes and onions in the large bowl. Toss all ingredients as to combine everything, then, let the bread soak up the juice from the tomatoes and olive oil.


Get your Capperi di Pantelleria here!

Summer lemonade

July 14, 2014

This last days has been really hot and what’s better for a dry mouth than a lemonade this hot afternoons in the garden. I usually make a lemonade concentrate and if there are leftover I pour it in a bottle and save it in the fridge. When serving I couldn’t resist decorating the lemonade with some mallow flowers. If you have extra time on your hand you could also freeze eatable flower in the ice cubes to give it a summery and colorful look.


The recipe will make around 6 cups  (14 dl) of lemonade concentrate


2 cups  (4.8 dl) caster sugar

2 cup (4.8 dl )water

12-14 lemons or enough lemons for 3 cups ( 7.4 dl) of fresh lemon juice

To serve : Still mineral or soda water and ice


Start by making a simple syrup.

Warm sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove, stir until the sugar has dissolved and incorporated into the water, set a side.

Squeeze the juice from the lemons, if you so desire you can strain the pulp from the juice or leave it in.

Combine the lemon juice and the simple syrup stirring to make sure they are full incorporated.

Fill a pitcher or glasses halfway  with ice cubes and lemonade concentrate.

Add either sparkling or still mineral water to dilute.

Server  immediately!


Lemon curd

June 26, 2014

The other day, while reading over some really tempting summer recipes in the Swedish magazine Lantliv. I realized that I haven’t enjoyed cheesecake for quite some time. This particular recipe included a lemon curd. The lemon tree just outside my door inspired me to make my own curd. The cheesecake and lemon curd was delicious, as for the left overs we’ll indulged ourselves with pancakes the following morning.

AT lemon curd -CF109015

Lemon curd

3 Egg (room temperature)
1 Cup (2.4 dl) caster sugar
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) lemon juice
Lemon zest from 1 lemon (use the lemon as part of the juice)
3.5 oz (100 gram) butter

Place a pot of water onto the stove top to use as a water bath.
Over a low heat let it arrive to a simmer.

In a heatproof bowl and mix sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Cut the butter into small pieces.Whisk the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk continuously, until the curd thickens.
Be attentive so that the eggs not coagulate to become scrambled eggs.
When the curd has thickened, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter chunks.
Pour into jar and let cool. (I suggest that you use the water to boil the jar as to make sure it is clean prior to cooking the curd)
Store the jar in the fridge, should keep for a week.


Zucchini salad

June 23, 2014

June is high season for zucchini in gardens and farm fields all over Sicily. Here in Pantelleria the local name for zucchini is Cucuzze. Every day we harvest boxes of different variety of zucchini. These last few days its been really hot weather by mid day, zucchini salad is the perfect fresh light lunch! Keeps the kitchen cool, it also can be served as a side some grilled fish. I used a white balsamic vinegar but if you don’t have that on hand you can replace it with any white vinegar.

Zucchini salad
Serves 4

3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Garlic cloves crushed
2 Chilies cut in small pieces and seeds removed
2 Tablespoons shredded lemon zest
1/2 Cup (1.2 dl) extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh grounded black pepper

11/2 lbs (700 gram) zucchini
A handful of basil leaves

Mix all ingredients for the marinade.
Cut the zucchini thinly and add to the marinade, toss to coat the zucchini evenly.
Let the zucchini rest in the marinade for at least 20 minuets.
Mix with basil leaves and serve.

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Fava beans!

March 28, 2014

Spring is here! It’s official.
Spring in Pantelleria means lovely days with barbecue lunches in the garden. There will be fresh fish on the grill, artichokes and fava beans just harvested and being enjoyed in the sun with some local white wine. I’m one of those people who just can’t stop myself from eating the favas raw. While peeling,  some just happen to jump right into my mouth. Carlo always says “­ Amore, you will have pain in your stomach, let me cook them first…” I happen to have a stomach made of steel, so this never worries me, although his concern warms my heart. His mission in life is to look after the people he loves and Igor and I are his top priority. The fava beans are delicious and can be used in so many ways. This week my friend Antonella made her scrumptious arabic bread (pita bread) and just to make it even more gluttonous, we dipped it, smeared it and double dipped it again in this yummy fava bean pesto!
Happy weekend everyone!

Fava bean pesto
To shell the beans, bend the tip of the pod and pull down the seam of the pod and unzip the entire pod to reveal the beans inside.
Discard the fuzzy outer pod. Then take the shelled beans and drop them in boiling salted water for 30 seconds to loosen the outer skin.
Remove and place into ice water, and peel off the beans thick waxy outer covering. Now they are ready to use in recipes.

1 Lb (450 grams) of whole new picked fava beans will give about 1 cup (2.4 dl)  of ready to use favas.

1 Cup (2.4 dl) fava beans (blanched and skinned)
1 Cloves of garlic
1/3 Cup (0.8 dl) almonds
1/3 Cup (0.8 dl) of sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup (1.2 dl) grated Parmesan cheese
1 Lemon, juiced
10 Large sprigs of Basil
1/2 Cup (1.2 dl) olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Dry toast the almonds and sunflower seeds a saucepan.
Mix all ingredients except for half of the almonds and sunflower seeds in the food processor.
When your pesto is smooth taste with sea salt and black pepper.
Coarsely chop the rest of the almonds and sunflower seeds stir them in the pesto using a or spoon, this will ad a little crunchiness to the pesto.
Use the pesto to spread on toasted or fresh baked bread or mix it with pasta.

favabeanspesto CF028685