Grapes and Vinegar
Italian desserts are usually simple. Elaborate cakes and pastries are served at special occasions. Fruit is much more common. Here’s an easy recipe that I got from a friend from Ischia – Grapes and Vinegar. It’s good in summer.
Wash the grapes and put them in a small sauce pan. Cover half way with water and add the vinegar. Bring to a boil, stir, lower heat and simmer until they begin to crack. Turn off the heat and mix in lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and half of the chopped mint. Let it cool and then mix in the Marsala. Marsala works best but sweet sherry is also OK. Chill and sprinkle with the remaining chopped mint when serving.
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My Calabrese grandfather used to have Marsala and an egg for breakfast. He’d just break an egg into a glass of Marsala and drink it without mixing or cooking it. He didn’t use a cocktail glass either.
Marsala Flip – a drink similar to both zabaglione (see below) and my grandfather’s breakfast.
- One whole egg
- Two ice cubes
- Three ounces sweet Marsala
Put the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. A flip is a cocktail that’s been around for a long time. This is a simple version of it. You can also use port or sherry. Add sugar if you’re using something that isn’t sweet i.e. brandy or bourbon.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup sweet Marsala
- ½ cup sugar
Put all the ingredients in a double boiler and whisk over medium heat until foamy. I use an old fashioned crank egg beater. It’s faster. Serve it hot or cold for dessert in a cocktail glass as is or with some berries on top.