Monthly Archives: April 2013

Spaghetti frutti di mare

April 28, 2013

This dish features a selection of our native seafood which literally hangs out on the coastal cliffs here in Pantelleria. What you see in the photo below is a little mollusk called Patelle in the local dialect. Limpet in English, it lives on the rocks by the sea. As the tide shifts, it’s easy to pluck them from the rocks. The other shell, is a sea snail called Babbaluci in Sicilian and the bright red anemones (Beadlet) are Pomodori di Mare. Together these create a flavorful Frutti di mare pasta sauce. It’s important to cook with the shells attached as they add to create a beautiful broth of the sea flavoring the sauce.
Enjoy this pasta with a glass of dry white wine.

Wish you all a great week.

frutti di Mare-CF018567

Spaghetti frutti di mare
Serves 4

1 medium pot with lid filled with water
1 teaspon sea salt
1lb ( 450 gram) spaghetti
1 large saute sauce pan
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 lbs (1.8 kilo) mixed shellfish and seafood (be sure to examine the seafood and give it a rinse to clean it off prior)
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) white wine
3 cups (7.1 dl) tomato sauce
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Place medium sized pot filled with water one teaspoon of sea salt and lid on top onto the large burner turn on the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Place your large saute pan over medium heat add olive oil. Add the garlic into a pan have a wooden spoon handy and stir the garlic it will turn to a light white color, add the dried chili flakes, stir again,  add the seafood and the wine.  Let simmer together so as to allow the shells and the seafood to lend their essence to the sauce. Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. When the pot of water for the pasta is boiling cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on package. When the pasta is cooked to the texture you desire, strain from the water using a colander. Add pasta to the sauce and  mix. Portion the pasta onto plats, sprinkle the parsley over the top for garnish.

spaghetti frutti di Mare-CF065392 1

Foccacia alla Pantesca

April 19, 2013

Ever since I first tried the capers (capperi) from Pantelleria I’ve been totally addicted to them. My friends in Sweden and New York that cook obsess over them. Now and then I receive messages saying: please send more Capers! Yesterday I got an urgent note from my sister with a picture of an empty caper bag to illustrate the desperation.
In New York I could find other Sicilian capers, which are really good, but simply do not compare to the Pantescan capers… It’s the simple reality that this little island grows the best capers there are to find. Amazing how one little flower bud preserved in sea salt gives so much flavor. Last weekend we had great weather and we hung out with friends all Sunday in the tiny fishing village of Gadir. All of us made two or three dishes to bring for a pot luck picnic. One off my contributions was this foccacia bread. It is perfect for a buffet or picnic.
Wish you all a great weekend/ Anna

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Capperi di Pantelleria-CF032447

Focaccia alla Pantesca
Serves 10
Ingredients for the dough:
25 gram fresh yeast
3  cups (7.2 dl) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2.4 dl) luke warm water ideally no warmer then body temperature
1/2 (1.2 dl) cup olive oil

1/4 cup olive oil for the baking tin.

Ingredients for toppings for the Foccacia:
1/2 medium sized red onion cored and sliced
1 Tablespoon salt cured capers from Pantelleria
1 teaspoon oregano from Pantelleria
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup(0.6 dl) olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (I used Maldon)

Crumble the yeast in a mixing bowl and mix with lukewarm water and sugar. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place or in the sunlight for 15 minutes. This is called blooming the yeast

Once yeast has bloomed add olive oil to the mixture and begin adding flour at 1 cup at a time and working the mixture into a dough. The dough should come together and the bowl should have no flour sticking to the sides. Next on a clean flat surface sprinkle some flour and place the dough on top and knead the dough for 15 minutes.

Place  the dough back into an olive oil coated bowl cover with a clean cotton kitchen towel place back in the sun or a warm place and allow the dough to rise to double its size should take about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F ( 200 C) degrees.

Take out an oven tray or baking tin, brush the bottom and edges with olive oil and sprinkle some salt flakes, don’t be skimpy on the olive oil use a 1/4 cup ( 0.6 dl)

Place the dough into the tray or baking tin shaping the dough to the size of the pan. Next place the  onion slices, rosemary, capers, oregano and drizzle some more olive oil over. Cover with a clean towel and place the pan in a warm place or the sun and allow to rise a second time for about 30 minutes.

Bake in the oven until golden for about 10 -12 minutes.

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To buy capers and oregano from Pantelleria go to ships to all Europe and US adresses.

Read more about the love for capers from Pantelleria at my friends Amy and Peters blog

Artichokes with lemon and garlic

April 15, 2013

The season for artichokes is here!
I just love them. I cook them many different ways. This recipe is my best, and it’s very simple to make. There are several varieties of artichokes. If you can find baby artichokes, they don’t contain the choke and are more tender, so the preparation will be shorter. If you are using the larger varieties you will have to remove the beard, or the choke, the hairy internal area found just above the heart as well as all the tough outer leaves. Either way, all efforts related to artichoke preparations are always worth the effort. This dish is perfect as appetizer, antipasto or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.1-artichookes-CF024185


Artichokes with lemon and garlic
Serves 4
4 baby artichokes or 2 large artichokes
1 whole bulb of garlic
2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
1/4 cup (0.6 dl) lemon juice
1/4 cup ( 0.6 dl) olive oil

A few sprigs of fresh oregano,parsley or thyme

1 large pot 5 cup (1.18 liters) capacity or more with lid large enough to accommodate 3 cups (7 dl) water and 1 1/2 cup (3.5 dl) olive oil for cooking of the artichokes. Placed on a medium burner and bring to a boil.
Lemon wedges and fresh herbs for garnishing the platter.

Clove, peel and mince the garlic. Place the kosher salt on top of the garlic and using the side of your knife work the salt and garlic together into a paste. Remove the stems from the herbs and mince. In a bowl combine 1/4 cup (0.6 dl) of olive oil, all lemon juice with the herbs and garlic salt to make the artichoke rub.

Rinse and clean each artichoke. Remove any outer leaves which appear to be sad, dry or cracked particularly near the stem. Use a scissor to remove any tips of the out leaves that contain a thorn.

NOTE: Use only stainless steel knives or scissors when working with artichokes!
High carbon knives react chemically with artichokes, any artichoke surface they come into contact will turn black. If you are using baby artichokes cut the artichokes in half, should you be using the larger variety of artichokes, cut them in quarters. Remove the beard, the fuzzy hairs located just above the artichoke’s heart, this is easily down with a teaspoon. You need to work fast for artichokes oxidizes and change color. Lemon juice will help prevent this, so rub the whole artichokes thoroughly with the artichoke rub, and don’t forget to get in between the leaves.

Add artichokes into the pot that has water and olive oil boiling. Go ahead and toss any extra artichoke rub into the pot as well. Lower the heat to allow the artichokes to simmer. The liquid should just cover the artichokes, as a thumb rule, one part olive oil with 2 parts water. Let them simmer about 15-20 minutes, if you have the larger type of artichokes you probably will need more cooking time. To check if the artichoke is ready, pull a leaf close to the center, if the leaf come off easily, it’s done. If not, cook more and check every 5 min, if you have the really big artichokes the cooking will be about 40 min. When it’s ready, let cool slightly in the broth, eat them lukewarm or cooled.

To serve, choose a high lipped or edged platter. Arrange the artichokes in the center of the platter and drizzle some of that beautiful broth over the artichokes. Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges. Serve with bread to soak up the good broth.4 artichookes-CF070675


Orata Pantesca al forno

April 9, 2013

Orata in Italian means golden. In English this fish is called Gilt head (sea) bream. I’ve bought the same fish in markets in France where its name is Daurade (dorade royale), and many years ago I was vacationing in Calabria where it is known as it Pargo-Dorado… Here in Pantelleria this fish is referred to as Orata. By any name this is an absolutely lovely fish!

Put this fish on the barbecue or roast it in the oven. Orata blends well with any flavor. This week I was assigned to make a recipe with fish and olives so I filled it with sun dried black olives, Pantelleria capers, garlic and a lot of wild thyme that had I picked the day before. I cooked it in the oven for 30 min and it came out perfectly. Really, it was so good that we almost moaned as we ate.
This recipe can easily be used for other kinds of fish. When you cook the whole fish, don’t forget to eat that little part in the cheek on the side of the fish head. It may be little, but it’s the very best part.

I wish you all great week
Annaorata al fornoCF069021Orata Pantesca al forno
Serves 2
2 each Orata fish 1 kilo or more in weight per fish (other names of the Orato: Dutch- Goldbrassen, East Germany- Dentis, Great Britian- Gill head Sea Bream)
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves finely chopped or pressed
4 sprigs of thyme
4 sun dried olives pitts removed and cut into chunks
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoon capers from Pantelleria (soaked and drained)
10 olives of your choice
8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 medium sized fennel
1 spring onion
1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine

Remove the scales, innards and gills of the fish view this video for further instruction
Set and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200C)
In a small bowl mix:
Olive oil, garlic, 2 thyme sprigs crushed, the sun dried olives and one Tablespoon of the capers, salt and pepper (keep in mind that fish needs a little extra salt).

Make three cuts on the bias from the dorsal fin to the stomach starting from head to mid tail on both sides of the fish. (since fish has different thicknesses these slits will allow even heat distribution as well as area to add the flavorings) place the aforementioned flavorings inside the slits as well as into the body cavity of the fish. Pour the left over oil around and into the oven tray.Cut the fennel and onion into larger wedge uniform pieces as to withstand the high heat of the oven. Add them to the pan with the rest of the ingredients and finish off by pouring in the wine. Cover with Aluminum foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, the cooking time might vary depending on the size of your fish, after 30 minutes remove from the oven and uncover. At this time you want to use a fork or butter knife to check the fish to see if the meat has cooked to the bone. You check at the thickest part of the fish by sticking the fork or knife into the and look to see if the meat is light and a little flaky in the consistency, not translucent at the point where it meats the bone. If it’s not ready let it stay for another ten minutes uncovered. But be careful with the cooking time, in my opinion there is nothing sadder than overcooked fish.
orata al fornoCF069096Dinner plate
Capperi di Pantelleria