I know people who said they didn’t like eggplant until they tried it done like this. Grilled eggplant can be served room temperature or chilled as a part of an antipasto, side dish or on a sandwich.
2 medium to large eggplants
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Salt, black, and red pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Trim the stem ends off the eggplants and slice lengthwise, about ¼-inch thick. Lay the eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle salt on both sides. Wait 15 minutes and blot up moisture.
Prepare the marinade:
Heat the oil in a small pan, add salt, black and red pepper and lightly sauté the chopped garlic. Add the herbs, lemon zest/juice, and the garlic/oil mixture to a blender, food processor or if you need the exercise use a mortar and pestle.
While you heat your grill (charcoal, gas, or a grill pan), use a brush to lightly coat each eggplant slice with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant slices on the grill oil side down and add oil, salt, and pepper to the top side of the eggplant. After you get nice grill marks on one side, turn and grill the other side. They cook fast so watch them.
Prepare a large serving platter with some of the marinade on the bottom. Layer the eggplant slices as they are done and spoon some of the marinade on each layer. Leave them for an hour at room temperature to marinate, then cover and refrigerate.
This is a big recipe. You can serve half of it hot, and the next day serve the remainder as a salad.
2 broccoli heads (about 1 ½ lbs.)
Olive oil for frying and drizzling
1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
6 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1 tbsp. anchovy paste or 5 anchovies
1 large lemon cut into 8 thin rounds and 1 tbsp. juice
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
Trim the broccoli into small florets with some stem remaining. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli. Blanch the broccoli for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
Bring about 5 tbsps. of oil to medium heat in a frying pan and add the peppers. Fry for 10 minutes, add the garlic and anchovy paste. Blend and cook for 5 more minutes. If you’re using whole anchovies, cook until they break down.
Heat a well-oiled grill pan. Toss the blanched broccoli with 3 tbsps. oil. Once the pan is hot, grill the broccoli, turning so there are grill marks on both sides.
Grill the lemon slices for 1 – 2 minutes on each side to get a nice char. Chop the slices and add to a bowl with the parsley, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 2 tbsps. olive oil.
Place the broccoli in a large bowl and add the pepper mixture and the lemon/parsley mixture and toss.
Arrange in a serving platter and serve hot or if you prefer, chill and serve as a salad.
Here’s something a little different – a Dutch baby. I don’t know how it got its name but it’s basically a sort of airy pancake that’s served with various sweet or savory toppings. For sweets you can top it with powdered sugar, maple syrup, fresh fruit, apple sauce, etc. I made a mushroom Dutch baby based on a recipe that I got from the New York Times. I made some changes to the original replacing bacon, butter, thyme, and cheddar with pancetta, olive oil, oregano, and fontina as noted in the ingredient list below.
1 lb. sliced mushrooms (any kind you like)
¼ lb. sliced pancetta (or bacon)
1 chopped garlic clove
1 tbsp. oregano (or thyme)
3 large eggs
¾ cup flour
¾ cup whole milk
4 tbsp. olive oil divided (or butter)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 oz. grated fontina (or cheddar)
2 scallions thinly sliced
2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
Pre-heat the oven to 450o.
Sauté the pancetta in one tablespoon of oil. Add the mushrooms and oregano and cook for approx. 20 minutes adding the garlic for the last 5 minutes.
For the Dutch baby – In a blender add the eggs, flour, milk, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cornstarch, salt. (This is the basic Dutch baby batter recipe for the various toppings. You can use butter instead of oil.)
Remove the mushrooms from the pan. Wipe it out and add 1 tablespoon of oil while it’s still warm. Pour in the Dutch baby batter, place in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes until it’s lightly browned and puffy. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes.
When done spread the melted cheese around the top, then add the mushrooms and sprinkle the scallions and parsley over it. Slice and serve.
The last time I had fried green tomatoes in a restaurant was over two years ago in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They’re not too common in New York restaurants so we have to make our own. It’s really very simple recipe but the hard part is finding firm, unripe green tomatoes.
3 or 4 large unripe tomatoes cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
Put the flour in one dish, the beaten egg and milk in a bowl and the corn meal/breadcrumbs/Cajun seasoning, salt and black pepper in another dish.
Put a half inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. After patting them dry, dip each tomato slice first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs, letting any excess coating drip off. Fry them in batches and don’t let them touch in the pan.
Cook until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes on each other side. Drain on paper towels and serve.
A while back I did a post on umami and at the time, I had never tasted Marmite and didn’t include it. Their advertising slogan is “Love it or hate it,” and I wondered which way I’d go. I tried it in a recipe that I adapted from Karen William’s Marmite Roast Potatoes on Delish – a British cooking site. Maybe I don’t love it yet, but it works for me.
This is a fast-cooking recipe so have all the ingredients prepared and ready to add to the pan. In place of, or in addition to the peas and carrots use what ever vegetables you like – broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus. Instead of shrimp try this with a boneless pork chop cut into small pieces. Someday I think I’ll make it with pancetta for a Chinese-Italian fusion.
6 oz shrimp (small shrimp or large cut small)
Salt & black pepper
2 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil divided
½ chopped onion
¾ cup peas & carrots
1 large egg
2 cups cooked rice (cold)
1 tbsp. each soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, oyster sauce
3 tbsp. chopped green onion
Preheat a large fry pan or wok to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Sauté the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes until they start to color. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onion, peas and carrots and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. Slide the onion, peas, and carrots to the side (if you pan isn’t big enough, temporally remove the vegetables) and pour the beaten egg onto the other side. Cook the egg, break it up mix it with the vegetables.
Add the rice and mix thoroughly with the egg and vegetables. Then add the shrimp. Pour in one tablespoon each of the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and oyster sauce. Stir and fry until everything is combined. Add chopped green onions and serve.
I got this grilled broccoli recipe from Julia and Bridget on America’s Test Kitchen. They came up with it for an outdoor grill, but it works just as well indoors. We live in an apartment building in Manhattan so no outdoor grill for us but a grill pan over two burners on a gas stove does the job.
2 heads broccoli
Salt & black pepper to taste
¾ cup olive oil
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 lemon cut in half
Pre-heat the over to 375o.
Wash the broccoli and trim its stems. Put it in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with minced garlic, juice of ½ lemon and olive oil. Toss the broccoli until it’s thoroughly coated.
Place the broccoli on a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold the sides up and add a ½ cup of water. Completely wrap the broccoli in the foil and tightly seal the edges. Reseal it in another piece of foil.
Place it in the oven for 30 minutes.
Place the ½ lemon cut side down on the grill alongside the broccoli on a grill and cook until the broccoli begins to sear.
Place it in a serving dish and squeeze the grilled lemon half over it and serve.
About 12 oz./2 cups of potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
3 oz. grated Parmigiana cheese
3 oz. grated fresh horseradish or more to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough olive oil for frying
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the cheese, horse radish, parsley, and seasoning. Mix in the mashed potatoes and blend until you have a fairly smooth mixture. Don’t worry about a few little lumps. If you made the mashed potatoes fresh, make sure they cool off before you mix them so they don’t cook the eggs.
Heat the oil in an oven proof 10 inch pan, pour in the egg mixture and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Once the eggs begin to set, place the pan under your broiler for another 5 minutes to cook and brown the top of the frittata.
Slice and serve either hot or at room temperature.
This is a traditional Caesar Salad recipe. It contains raw eggs and anchovies. Caesar Salad was invented in Mexico by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who lived in San Diego but operated a restaurant in Tijuana where he could serve alcohol during Prohibition.
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup day old Italian bread, crust trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt & black pepper
1 clove garlic, halved
2 large eggs
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 minced anchovies (or more)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
½ cup grated Parmesan
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan large enough to hold the bread in a single layer and turn heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, add the bread, salt and pepper. Toss and brown lightly. Remove and set aside.
Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the garlic clove and discard it.
Beat the eggs and pour into the salad bowl. Slowly add the lemon juice and 6 tablespoons oil, constantly beating. Stir in anchovies and Worcestershire.
Taste for seasoning. Keep in mind that the anchovies and cheese are salty but add lots of pepper. Toss to coat the lettuce. Add the Parmesan and croutons, toss again and serve.
Whenever I see a pumpkin I think of Halloween and Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t normally think of Venice. I have a friend who spent some time there who told me that pumpkin (zucca in Italian) is a common ingredient in Venetian cuisine. He’s had it pureed in soup, with pasta, and as a side with meat or fish. Simple roasted pumpkin is even available from street vendors.
1 pumpkin about the size of a cantaloupe
½ tsp. salt
A few sprinkles of nutmeg
3 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400o.
Wash the pumpkin and cut off the top and bottom. Pull out the seeds * and scrape out the fibers using the edge of a spoon or a melon baller. Cut the pumpkin in 1 inch wide slices.
Toss the slices in a bowl with the salt, nutmeg, and oil. Place them in a baking pan skin side down and roast for 25 minutes. Serve plain or as a side dish. You can eat the skin.
* If you like you can also roast the seeds. Mix 1 cup of rinsed and dried seeds with 2 tsp. melted butter and a dash of salt. Place them in a single layer on a baking pan and roast at 300o for 45 minutes or until golden brown stirring occasionally.