mercoledì 3 novembre 2010

Fancy Dinner #1: Lemons di l'amuri and Sage & Anchovy Fritters

Our resident chef Aureliano has recently been offered a full-time position as head chef at a rather interesting and new slow food restaurant in the nearby fishing town of Aci Trezza! This is exciting because such a solid job opportunity is very rare to come across in Sicily, especially at this time. What is even more exciting is that the Casa di l'Amuri crew gets to be the first test guinea pigs for whatever Aureliano cooks up, in return for our feedback on whether the dish should be on the menu of the restaurant or not.
And so, we would like to present to you the first round of testing, complete with description of preparation processes and accompanied by scrumptious photographs! The two dishes featured here have been named as "Lemons di l'amuri" and "Sage & Anchovy Fritters". We hope you enjoy the post as much as we enjoyed the meal!

Aureliano starting off by making the batter
for the anchovy fritters.

The batter: made with 255g flour, egg yolk and salt.
As it is all being whisked, 200ml fizzy mineral water
is added a bit at a time, along with 55ml olive oil.
It is left to stand for 30 minutes before using.

Some fresh sage leaves are taken from our garden, moistened with a sprinkling
of water and dusted on both sides with flour. 

Two dozen anchovy fillets are left to marinade with the juice and zest of
one lemon from our tree.

One anchovy fillet is then placed on a sage leaf. Aureliano puts some caper
paste onto it at this point....

....and closes it shut with another sage leaf to make a sort of "sandwich".

While a generous layer of sunflower oil heats up on our
saucepan to 180 degrees Celsius (when the temperature is
right, a small piece of potato will turn golden when
submerged) 2 egg whites are whisked with a pinch of salt
until stiff and slowly folded in the batter mixture until smooth.
The anchovy-sage "sandwich" is then taken....

....dipped into the batter...

....and fried in the oil for about a minute.

Peppe Minniti....

.....frying the fritters.

Mmmmmmmmmmm :)

In the meantime: several serious Sicilian lemons are harvested from our
seriously awesome Sicilian lemon tree...
...and halved. The flesh is scooped out and the pointy ends cut off so that
the lemon halves can stand without falling over.

From front to back: the leftover anchovy mixture, some buffalo mozzarella,
radicchio, oven-roasted black olives, tomato paste and the lemon halves.

Aureliano lays down some lemon leaves taken from
our tree onto a tray....

....and then sets a lemon half on top of each leaf.

The mozzarella is cut into generous chunks and the olives are pitted.

Each lemon half receives a nice big chunk of mozzarella...

....a big squeeze of the tomato paste...

....and a juicy anchovy fillet.

For variation, some receive a small slice of radicchio or
a black oven-roasted olive...

....and another covering of mozzarella...

.....and some are sprinkled with dried wild oregano harvested from the nearby
Mount Etna. The tray of lemons is then ready to be placed into a preheated
oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes.

The chef on his smoko.

In the meantime, Manuela uses the leftover batter mixture
and oil to fry some onion rings...

....and has a little taste too. She also fries up some crostini
slices to go with the lemons.

The lemons are out of the oven...

....and onto the plate.

The cooked lemon halves in all their glory with some
lemonade in the background, made from the leftover fizzy
mineral water, lemon flesh scooped out from the lemon and
crushed mint leaves from our pot outside.

The gang digs into the lemons...

....the inside of which goes really well on the crostini. (The actual lemon is not
eaten and is just used for the flavor).

We then go for the onion rings and anchovy-sage fritters...

Which hold an amazingly rich fragrant punch.

I think we all agreed that both recipes passed the test with flying flavors. The lemon recipe was so good we decided that it should be reserved for preparation only in the Casa di l'amuri and become one of our signature dishes. Well done Aure, we cant wait to see what you cook up next time! --|||||Sergie|||||

2 commenti:

  1. Thanks guys! I'm starving now after looking at all that beautiful food. Your passion for cooking and food is so obvious, it makes me wish I was in that kitchen amongst the smells and tastes and textures (and beautiful people)experiencing it all with you. I love it.

    Sicily, here I come.

  2. Dear conaire,

    thank you for your kind comment! Indeed, having Aureliano in the house really takes things to the next level as we can always be sure that spectacular creations will always emerge from the kitchen. Being in a country where the consumption of food is regarded with such high spirits and enthusiasm takes the experience even further. I previously thought that I had a generally good understanding of all things culinary, however I can say from my personal experience that one has not truly experienced the wholesome and at times entrancing journey of food until they have been to Italy.