Moscato Prawn Pasta and a Festa to celebrate our arrival in Malta
by eat in my kitchen
I’m finally back in Malta! I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to having my feet on Maltese ground again. I just wanted to smell the air, feel the sun on my skin and see all the beloved faces at the airport again – and finally we’re here again!
When I went to Malta for the first time I learnt that the arrival at the airport is the beginning of a big, endless family feast. Aunts and uncles, cousins, the grandmother of course, sisters, brothers and my Maltese Mama Jenny, there is always a big welcoming committee waiting for us at the gate and escorting us to the house in Msida, our home town for the weeks to come. On the way there I took a deep breath of the salty air mixed with the sweet scent of oleander and wild thyme, this is Malta to me!
In the next weeks I’ll be cooking and baking in Jenny’s kitchen – and her garden as that’s where the grill is. I will share some of my favourite summer dishes with you, show you around on the islands a bit and introduce some passionate food and wine lovers to you. I will show you this wonderful place in the Mediterranean through my eyes but for a bigger picture I will be meeting and writing about Arnold, the bee keeper and Sam who produces his own olive oil, my baker, the butcher, farmers, wine and cheese makers, chefs and Maltese Mamas who’ve been cooking traditional meals for their families for many years. We will exchange recipes so that you and l can get the chance to learn a few more secrets of traditional Maltese cooking. These people, their profession and passion will show you the side of Malta that I fell in love with nine years ago. I hope I can give you an insight into this culture and food but also its warm, hospitable people who make me feel at home every time I come back.
One of the many things I’m always looking forward to impatiently when we’re in Malta is to go to the fish market in Marsaxlokk in the south of the island. The freshness and variety is overwhelming, especially for someone like me who lives in the city far away from any water (apart from rivers and lakes). Every Sunday, the fishermen offer their catch of the last night. They go out in the dark into the open sea with their colourful boats in blue, red and yellow to come back from their fishing trip a few hours or days later and fill their tables with swordfish, tuna, sea bream, moray eels, prawns and many more. These aren’t big companies, these are families who have been in the fishing business for many generations.We went there yesterday and I didn’t know where to start and when to stop filling our ice box!
One of our purchases were Maltese prawns, the best I ever ate, almost sweet in taste. We threw them on the grill with some garlic and lemon, and enjoyed them with Maltese bread and wine to celebrate our arrival!
Next time when I write about one of our seafood meals I will tell you a bit more about Marsaxlokk, the fishing village and it’s picturesque atmosphere but for now I’m off to the beach!
The weekend of our arrival happened to be Msida’s Festa – the holy feast – in honour of Saint Joseph. Each village praises its patron saint with days of celebration including fireworks and a long procession with the saint’s statue carried through the whole village. If you ever get the chance to join a Festa in Malta you will understand a lot about the Maltese culture, its traditions but also about the people’s untamable will to celebrate and enjoy life!
Moscato Prawns with Linguine
For 4 people you need
linguine 300g / 10.5 ounces
prawns (in their shells, the heads removed) 300g / 10.5 ounces
garlic, quartered, 2 big cloves
Moscato wine 75ml / 2.5 ounces
water used to cook the pasta, 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
Cook the pasta al dente in lots of salted water.
In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil together with the garlic. When the oil is hot add the prawns and sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze with half of the wine, add the rest of the wine, the lemon juice and the water. Mix in the pasta and season with salt, crushed pepper and lemon juice to taste, serve immediately.