Tag Archives: BBQ

ANTIPASTO – GRILLED SUMMER VEGETABLES AND A SCOOP OF SALADS

You really cannot beat a plate of grilled vegetables, especially when eggplants and peppers are so prolific at this time of year.

Zucchini, although not in this selection are also a good choice.  Grilled vegetables are perfect as an antipasto but they can just as easily be part of a main course.

The vegetables can be grilled on a BBQ or Grill press or in the oven.

To the array, throw in some of the cooked green beans, asparagus or broccolini (that perhaps are left over from the night before), add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, some chopped garlic, a little parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

You could also add to the cooked vegetables different textures with a bit of crunch – some of that celery, fennel, cucumbers and apples that are probably in your fridge. Or it could be tomatoes, celery, spring onions and fresh basil leaves, once again a drizzle of that good olive oil that will add fragrance as well as taste.

So easy, so simple.

Just recently, in two different restaurants I ordered versions of grilled vegetables and they both were presented with Romesco sauce dolloped separately on the side of the vegetables.  In one of the restaurant it was grilled asparagus, topped with fried breadcrumbs. In the other it was eggplant. This had been grilled and rather than presenting it in slices it was pulped to a medium texture. Bread is a perfect accompaniment for scooping up the eggplant and the Romesco sauce. A drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil is a must.

Recipes in earlier posts:

 

PEPPERS WITH BREADCRUMBS- PIPI CA MUDDICA – PEPERONI CON LA MOLLICA

SALSA ROMESCO (Romesco sauce, this recipe is made with roasted peppers, tomatoes and almonds)

In this version of this sauce almonds are added to the the vegetables (garlic, peppers and tomatoes). These are roasted/chargrilled on a BBQ or Grill press:

Roast/chargrill the peppers whole, peel, remove seeds and break them into strips. If using fresh tomatoes cut them into pieces. If you are roasting / chargrilling the peppers do them at the same time.
*Click on above link to see a list of ingredients and how to make it.

A different Recipe for Romesco sauce made with hazelnuts

This recipe uses hazelnuts instead of almonds. Also the vegetables are roasted. in the oven rather than grilled.

Use the same ingredients as the recipe above, substitute the hazelnuts for the almonds, but roast the vegetables:

Place the tomatoes, peppers and a whole head of garlic in a roasting tray with a little oil and roast in a 190C oven. Take the vegetables out as they become soft, i.e. the tomatoes will take about 10 minutes,  the peppers and the garlic could take about 30-40 minutes..

 

GRILLED CALAMARI (CALAMARI ‘NTA BRACI (Sicilian) – CALAMARI ALLA BRACE (Italian)

Both calamari and cuttlefish (seppie) are very popular in Italy.  Calamariis the Italian word for squid and it refers to those species of squid with long side fins; those with relatively shorter side fins are seppie (cuttlefish). In Australia the two species are often sold interchangeably.

Cuttlefish is usually braised and is favoured for making black ink sauces. As for squid, it is cooked and eaten in many ways, including raw but probably my favourite way of cooking squid is alla brace (grilled over hot coals); my gas fuelled Baby Webber does a good job too.
I prefer to grill squid on high heat for a short time; Italians (includes Sicilians) generally prefer to cook it on medium–low heat for longer. When you cook it for a short time, the squid may still look a little shiny, but the residual heat completes the cooking, the flesh will turn opaque but remain moist.
I generally buy small to medium sized squid (anything bigger than 400g each I consider to be large squid.) Grilled Calamari are popular all over Italy, but the salmorigano dressing is Sicilian.
 
INGREDIENTS AND PROCESSES
Season the squid with a fine sprinkling of salt and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes. .
Baste the squid with a little extra virgin olive oil; for extra flavour, use a strong sprig of rosemary or oregano as a brush.
Brush a little oil on the metal grill before cooking the squid and grill the squid for 4-8 minutes on each side. This will depend on the size of the squid and how you like it.
Place them on a large serving platter and rest it for about 3-5 minutes before covering it with a little dressing.

 

SALMORIGANO
A simple, Sicilian dressing is salmorigano. Mix together some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a little dried oregano (it is stronger tasting than fresh), some finely cut flat leaf parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Some also add a clove of finely chopped garlic.

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PORK IN RAGUSA (I Ragusani mangiano molto maiale)

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The Sicilians from the southeastern corner of Sicily, especially from Ragusa, eat a lot of pork. One of their signature dishes is ravioli di ricotta al sugo di maiale. These are ravioli stuffed with slightly sweetened ricotta and dressed in a strongly flavoured, slow cooked, tomato ragù (ragout) made with pork meat, which includes some pork skins.

Another dish my relatives in Ragusa make are causuneddi, which is a Sicilian word with no Italian or English translation. Causuneddi are gnocchi-shaped pasta cooked with what Sicilians call broccoli which are, in fact, young kohlrabi complete with leaves. Strips of pork skin are added for flavour. My aunt Niluzza is a champion at making both of these.

Pork sausages are added to sugo (a meat tomato sauce used to dress pasta), eaten fried or grilled. I have included a photo taken when I was last in Ragusa of a length of coiled pork sausage being cooked on a rustic grill – the Sicilian version of a BBQ – in fact, an Italian BBQ. No fancy BBQs for Italians. The length of sausage has no links and it can also be cooked in a frypan. Done this way the sausage is poached in a little water, without a lid. When the water evaporates the coiled sausage begins to brown in its own fat.

This is another version of braciole di maiale, except that these are stuffed.

The braciole (see previous post) are farcite or imbottite (word for ‘stuffed’) mainly with a mixture of pork liver and pork sausages. You would have to ask your butcher to supply you with double pork chops with a slit in between them (as if you were cutting them into two chops) and then you can go home and stuff them.

My younger relatives (daughters of my cousins) would not dream of making them at home, they have a favourite butcher and he made these braciole for them. It was a different story for their mothers.

INGREDIENTS
pork braciole, (chops) 6 double
minced pork, 100g
pork liver, 100g, chopped finely
sausages, 100g, pork preferably made with fennel
pork salame, 100g, cut into very small pieces
fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon, crushed
white or red wine, 1 ½ cups
water or stock, 1 ½ cups
extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup
salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste
onion, 1, chopped
PROCESSES
Mix liver, sausages (without skins) minced pork, salame, pepper, fennel seeds and a little red wine.
Stuff each double chop with some of this mixture.
Close the chops by sewing the edges.
Softened the onion in the oil, add the chops and sprinkle with the wine and water (or broth). Braise the chops (with lid) for about 30- 40 mins over low heat until cooked. You may need to add more water/wine – do not let them dry out.

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