eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: cod

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers from my cookbook & a short trip to Malta

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Old cities and beaches, seafood and wine! When Condé Nast Traveler asked me to take over their Instagram Stories last weekend and share some of my favourite spots in Malta, I immediately booked the flights. There’s no way I would miss a chance to visit my second home!

I’m in the Mediterranean for just a few days at the moment, but it’s enough time to visit my personal hot spots. An early morning boat ride starting in Sliema took me to Valletta to enjoy my first espresso of the day at the beautifully old fashioned Prego Caffe on the capital’s narrow South Street. It’s a beloved morning ritual of many locals, nibbling on buttery breakfast pastizzi filled with ricotta surrounded by the café’s original 60’s decor. A quick visit to the Baroque Saint Francis of Assisi Church (1607) and then I strolled through the streets – one of the most relaxing things I can imagine. If it had been a Sunday, I would have gone to St. John’s Co-Cathedral‘s early morning mass, which is held in Latin accompanied by the most heavenly sounding choir.

On the way to my next destination, Casa Rocca Piccola, I stopped by at the peaceful Lower Barakka Gardens. This place always manages to overwhelm me with its stunning views over The Grand Harbour and The Three Cities – and its almost meditative atmosphere. Frances de Piro was so kind to show me around the 400 year old private Valletta palace Casa Rocca Piccola, where she lives together with her husband, the 9th Marquis de Piro who’s a Knight of Malta, and their family. Many of the private rooms can be visited during guided tours and are a must see for everybody who loves art, history, and architecture.

My man joined me for lunch, which turned into a little feast at Scoglitti right at the sea at the Marsamxett Harbour facing Sliema. Pasta with Maltese prawns, swordfish from the grill, and a bottle of Meridiana Wine Estate‘s fruity white. Maltese Mqaret filled with dates for dessert and we were ready for a nap. Only the thought of an afternoon swim in Malta’s deep blue waters could stop us from having a siesta. We chose the secluded Delimara bay, limestone rocks and crystal-clear turquoise sea are the best conditions for a good snorkeling trip.

My perfect day in Malta wouldn’t be complete without having dinner at Legligin, my favourite restaurant in Valletta offering the most delicious Maltese tapas cooked by our friend Chris. And if it’s a Friday night, you can stroll over to Bridge Bar for their weekly open air Jazz concerts. Sitting on red cushions on the capital’s ancient stairs in front of the bar, sipping on a glass of pastis, and listening to good music make me ask myself why I should ever leave the Mediterranean (sorry Berlin).

As a part of the Instagram takeover, I also shared a recipe from my Eat In My Kitchen cookbook on Condé Nast Traveler‘s website. It’s a Maltese classic: stuffed bell peppers. Stuffed vegetables are a staple in every Maltese home. Tomato, zucchini, eggplant, pepper are filled with meat, seafood, or other vegetables and turned into the coziest treat to please a large Mediterranean family’s appetite. In my version, which you can find below, I go for green peppers cooked al dente – I don’t like them too soft and soggy – stuffed with white fish like cod, tiny zucchini cubes, tomatoes, and parsley refined with a shot of vermouth.

If you can’t travel at the moment, just cook a dish that reminds you of your favourite holiday spot, close your eyes, and you’ll almost be there.

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

 

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers with Cod, Tomatoes, and Zucchini

from Eat In My Kitchen, To cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat

Serves 4

4 to 5 medium green bell peppers
Olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons butter
510g / 18 ounces cod fillet (or any firm, white fish, such as monkfish or grouper), preferably 1 thick center piece
Fine sea salt
Ground pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
340g / 12 ounces zucchini, cut into very small cubes
60ml / ¼ cup dry white vermouth, like Noilly Prat, or dry white wine
1 medium tomato, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for garnish

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Cut the tops off the peppers. Scrape out and discard the seeds and fibers, then rinse the peppers and set aside.

In a heavy pan, large enough to fit the fish, heat a generous splash of olive oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Sear the fish, turning once, for 1 to 3 minutes per side or until golden and flaky—mind that you don’t overcook it. Remove from the heat, break the fish into chunks, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Pour in a little more olive oil, add the zucchini, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft. Add the vermouth and cook, stirring and letting the alcohol burn off, for about 10 seconds. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the tomato and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To combine the filling, spread half the zucchini-tomato mixture on a large plate, lay the fish on top, and finish with the remaining vegetables. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Season the inside of the bell peppers with salt and pepper. Using a large spoon, generously stuff the peppers with the zucchini-cod mixture without pushing on the filling too much. If you have leftover filling, stuff the fifth bell pepper. Place the tops on the peppers and place them in a baking dish. Add a splash of water to cover the bottom of the dish and bake for about 25 minutes or until the bell peppers are al dente and the tops turn dark. Take the peppers out of the oven, sprinkle with more parsley, and serve warm.

Malta

 

Maltese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cod al Cartoccio with Ramp and Red Onion

Cod and Ramp al Cartoccio

My beloved ramp is back in season, ready to add its garlicky spiciness to fish, meat and vegetables, and to one of my favourites of course: fragrant ramp pesto!

I’ve been looking for it impatiently over the past few weeks and when I finally spotted the first bunch at my organic supermarket I had to call my boyfriend instantly, he’s almost more obsessed with these green spring leaves than I am. We changed our dinner plans from gnocchi with blue cheese sauce to spaghetti with pesto, and that was just the beginning of our re-awakened green passion! Cod al cartoccio on a bed of ramp and red onions was next on my list. It’s not only very delicious but also a very convenient match. I wrapped the fish in a parchment paper package with a little white wine, olive oil and lemon juice and cooked it in the oven for 15 minutes, all in all it took less than half an hour including the preparation! If you’re still looking for a light and easy family Easter lunch, think al cartoccio. It cooks the fish to perfection while you can create your desired aroma of herbs and vegetables, it tastes divine and looks beautiful on the table.

Cod and Ramp al Cartoccio

 

Cod and Ramp al Cartoccio

Cod al Cartoccio with Ramp and Red Onion

For 2 people you need

cod fillet, about 2 1/2cm / 1″ thick, 400g / 14 ounces
ramp, stalks cut off, a large bunch (about 50g / 1 3/4 ounces)
small red onion, cut in half and into thin slices, 1
white wine 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons plus more for the parchment paper
sea salt and pepper

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan-assisted oven).

Cut 2 large pieces of parchment paper, big enough to wrap the fish, lay them on top of each other and brush the top layer with olive oil. Lay the ramp leaves in the middle of the oiled parchment paper (leave 2 leaves out and put aside), place the cod on top and season with salt and pepper. Lay 1 ramp leaf on top of the fillet and arrange the onions around the fish. Whisk the wine, olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the fish. Close the parchment paper like a bonbon and fold the top twice. Place in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, if you can separate the fish (gently) with a fork it’s done, if it needs a little longer close the parchment paper and put back into the oven (mind not to overcook it!). Chop the raw ramp leaf and sprinkle over the cooked fish, serve with fresh baguette and a glass of chilled white wine!

Cod and Ramp al Cartoccio

 

Cod and Ramp al Cartoccio

 

Cod and Ramp al Cartoccio

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