eat in my kitchen

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Tag: anchovy

Spaghetti with Anchovy Pangrattato, Lemon and Parsley

Spaghetti with Anchovy Pangrattato, Lemon and Parsley

La dolce vita, I can hear it calling me! I need a holiday, some Mediterranean vibes, the sea that slows down my pace! For now I only have my beloved Mediterranean food but there’s only a month between me and a little dolce far niente! Our flights are booked and in four weeks we will be heading South, but my mind is already there, in Malta, our beautiful rock in the Mediterranean Sea. I find myself daydreaming about all the things I will do and eat.

I have a plan, I will enjoy the sea and spend lots of time with our friends and family as I always do but I will also share some of my culinary hotspots with you. Over the years, I found so many delicious restaurants, small producers of olive oil, cheese, bakeries, winemakers and my salt pans in Gozo of course. I met many people who are as passionate about eating and cooking as I am, chefs and Maltese Mamas who have treated their families to years of the most delicious traditional dishes. Soon, I will meet these food lovers, we will talk about food, I will watch them cook and share their recipes with you on the blog. I’m very excited and I can’t wait to show you this amazing island, its food and natural beauty!

For now I can only enjoy all the lovely dishes that feed my memories and fit my daydreams, like spaghetti with pangrattato (meaning grated bread in Italian), crisp breadcrumbs fried with anchovies and garlic! I sprinkle it with freshly squeezed lemon juice, crushed black pepper and parsley, a summer meal which couldn’t be quicker and easier!

Spaghetti with Anchovy Pangrattato, Lemon and Parsley

 Spaghetti with Anchovy Pangrattato, Lemon and Parsley

For 2 people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
breadcrumbs 5 heaped tablespoons
(if you have some stale white bread left put it in a food processor and turn into breadcrumbs)
anchovies, rinsed, dried and finely chopped, 2-3 big fillets (use 3 if you like a strong fish taste)
garlic, finely chopped, 2 cloves
parsley, finely chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons
lemon 1/2, to drizzle over the pasta
black pepper, crushed coarsely
salt
olive oil for frying

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.

In a heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the garlic on a medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the anchovies and fry for a few seconds before you pour in a little more oil, add the breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown and crisp. Divide the spaghetti and the pangrattato between 2 plates and sprinkle with lemon juice, black pepper and parsley. Season with salt, carefully as the anchovies are very salty.

Spaghetti with Anchovy Pangrattato, Lemon and Parsley

Sicilian Sfincione with Tapenade

Sfincione with Tapenade

Forget about thin and crisp, this pizza is thick and juicy! The Sicilian Sfincione is more like a focaccia, the dough is made with eggs and milk which gives it a bit of a sweet bread feeling. Its origin dates back to the late Baroque when the aristocratic Sicilian families liked to employ French chefs, the “Monzu” coming from the French Monsieur, some of them became famous Sicilian chefs. Here’s the beauty of culinary exchange between two cultures, they influence each other, they don’t confine each other but merge and evolve! If only cultural exchange was always so easy and well received!

In the beginning of the 18th century, these chefs started to influence Sicilian cuisine and left quite a few marks in the kitchen, also in the making of pizza. Eggs and milk, sometimes even butter, found their way into this famous dish and created completely different textures and tastes, like the popular Sfincione.

As there is already a French touch involved I thought I might as well continue working with it in the topping. I went for a rich Provençal tapenade made of lots of black olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil, brandy and lemon juice topped with thyme sprigs. It was great! This pizza is perfect for a picnic, as a starter or with a salad on the side. I love pizza, so much that I bake it every Sunday and this Sicilian variation is definitely a summer favourite!

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

 Sfincione with Tapenade

For 4 Sfincione (15cm / 6″) you need

For the dough

plain flour 500g / 1 pound
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
salt 1/2 teaspoon
organic egg 1
milk, lukewarm, 250ml / 8.5 ounces

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the lukewarm milk and egg and mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) oven for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4, stretch into thick 15cm / 6″ disks on a floured surface and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rise while you continue the preparation for the tapenade.

 

For the tapenade

black olives 200g / 7 ounces
capers 40
anchovy, rinsed and dried, 2 fillet
olive oil 2 tablespoons plus more for sprinkling
brandy (or cognac) 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons
mustard 1 teaspoon
pepper
thyme 16 small sprigs for topping

Mix the ingredients for the tapenade in a blender and season with pepper to taste.

 

The Sfincione

Set the oven to 250°C / 480°F, my oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread a quarter of the tapenade on each pizza, put 4 thyme sprigs on top of each and bake for 6 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with olive oil immediately and serve warm or cold.

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade