All posts filed under: Italian

Baked branzino

I come to you this evening with possibly the simplest fish recipe in the world. In fact, it’s barely a recipe – more a gentle reminder of something we all know: that lemon, parsley and  fresh fish are three things that almost always come together to create something wonderful. And I’m talking about really fresh fish here. This branzino came from the Rialto Fish Market, bought and eaten on the same day. Before I tell you about the bass, let me talk a little about the market. It was early December when I bought these two fish, and so cold that even the seafood seemed to chatter in their shells. Yet the market was bustling at 10am on a Tuesday, and the fruit and vegetable stands overflowing. The Italians, it seems, are experts at drawing out colour in the depths of winter; their stalls full of glossy persimmons, orange fleshed pumpkins, flaming bunches of peperoncini, and radicchio di Treviso, its ruby tipped tendrils flailing over the counters. I stopped at my favourite vegetable stand and bought potatoes, zucchini and a handful of parsley. They asked Read More

Sarde in Saor

Sarde in Saor is a hard dish to sell. Made, as it is, of marinated sardines, vinegar, onions and sultanas – all served cold alongside polenta. If there was a marmite of the fish dish world, this would be it. It’s the type of food made for eating in a dark Venetian restaurant, mist rising from the canal, the sky a heavy grey. Its ingredients sweet, acidic, unapologetic; brought together out of necessity. But I love it. Sarde in saor first made its appearance when I worked as an au pair in Venice. The mother explained how it was cooked, emphasising the impossibly long cooking of the onions. And it really is long and slow – by the end you want onions that are soft and and slick with oil and vinegar, melting into the pan. In Venetian, ‘saor’ means ‘flavour’, but these vinegary onions do more than that. They also preserve the fish, making this the kind of dish that is cooked days in advance of eating: perfect if you find yourself with a Read More

Ravioli di Zucca e Amaretti

A few weeks ago, in our old village church, my twin sister got married. It was wonderful, and I was floating atop a fluffy wedding cloud for days afterwards. Not just because it was such a gloriously happy day, but because it objectively was the best kind of wedding. You know, the sort that sees you chauffeured to the reception in 1940s jeeps, laughing and giddy because it’s raining and windy and you’re driving along an A road in a car without doors. But you don’t care! Because your sister’s getting married and there are pies to eat, and oh look, a swing band’s just started, and hurrah! Your love is there to spin you round the dance floor the whole night. So yes, it was the best sort of wedding. But that was three weeks ago, and I definitely should’ve told you all about it before now (sorry), largely because quite a lot has happened since. For one, I started my MA at SOAS last week, resulting in me heading back to London for the first time in two months. And oh Read More