Bruschetta (pronounced bru-sketta) is a classic Italian appetizer consisting of toasted bread slices topped with fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. There are oodles of variations and I’ve named a few here for you to consider: smashed avocado with chopped tomatoes; zucchini goat cheese bruschetta; smoked salmon with mascarpone cheese. Continue Reading →
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Sometimes less is more and in cooking terms it’s spot on. Simple ingredients can make any dish shine. Bagna càuda is an Italian sauce made with butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies. The Italians eat it with fennel, peppers, carrots, cauliflower. Fresh bread dipped in this sauce is simply scrumptious! Or, give your taste buds a real treat by grilling radicchio wedges and slather with bagna càuda. I’ve grilled radicchio before as well as romaine but never served it with bagna càuda. The oil and butter help to round out the garlic while softening the salty flavour of anchovies. It’s a sauce that is super easy to make, has minimal ingredients and loaded with flavour. Continue Reading →
The holiday season is just around the corner and it’s that time of the year when we’re out socializing and entertaining at home. The thought of entertaining can be intimidating for both the novice and the experienced. When I know I am having friends over, I generate a plan, cook ahead, stay within my limits and remember it is only a party – a time to have fun. Everybody loves a party where they can reconnect, celebrate and get away from the stresses of daily life. Entertaining is also about trying new things, new ideas and new techniques. Which brings me to this insanely delicious dish: prosciutto wrapped tomato. Continue Reading →
Salads take on many forms from the traditional and the not-so-traditional like the one posted here. Brussels sprouts are not every persons cup of tea but I’ll bet if you try it as a salad with the following delicious ingredients, I think you just might be pleasantly surprised. Brussels sprout salad not only is esthetically pleasing but full of nutritional goodies. Continue Reading →
Farmers’ markets always provide interesting selections of fruits and vegetables and most vendors are happy to share their knowledge of their produce. I spotted these round zucchinis at the Ridge Hill Yonkers’ Down to Earth Farmers’ Market – aren’t they adorable?
4 round zucchinis
1 garlic clove, minced
3 or 4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350f. Cut the tops off the zucchini and set aside. Using a teaspoon, scoop out flesh but not too close to the skin. Roughly chop the zucchini flesh. Rub olive oil all over the zucchini rounds. In a large sauté pan, add one tablespoon of olive oil and place over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and anchovies and sauté until onion is soft. Then add zucchini flesh and cook until soft. Remove from heat; add sun dried tomatoes, feta, and parsley. Stir to combine and then stuff zucchini. Place zucchini tops on top. Add a splash of olive oil in a baking dish and add zucchini rounds. Bake for 30 minutes or until zucchini looks soft. Serve immediately.
I enjoy listening to stories of the past and with my mother in-law visiting, it’s the perfect time to hear more. Aida was born on the tiny island of Gibraltor 89 years ago. She moved to England in 1946 and has what I call a lovely Spanish/English accent. We are never short on conversation, our talks cover the whole gamut – travel, current events, fashion and of course food! While I was preparing this salad Aida told me her mother used to stuff her red peppers with meat, cheese, eggs and served with tomato sauce (everything back then was done from scratch). She remembers her mom, Angelina Bocarisa, making her tomato sauce either by blanching the tomatoes to remove the skins or over an open fire. Ovens were not common in homes back then and the women from the village would take their bread or joints (roasts) to the baker. A steel sticker would be handed out as a receipt and given a time to come back. Can you imagine how busy the baker must have been on a Sunday! The ladies would come and collect their baked goods and walk back to their homes with hot food in hand. When Aida moved to England she was fascinated with how advanced the country seemed compared to her own…electric irons, washers, tumble dryers, hoovers, ovens etc.
As I sit here typing this post rehashing my conversation with Aida, I look around me and see how much is taken for granted. Nearly everything is readily available at our fingertips but are we truly grateful? Hmm, I wonder.
adapted from Martha Stewart
4 small red bell peppers
4 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 can (15oz.) small white beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan cheese, grated (2 tablespoons)
1 cup packed spicy baby greens, such as watercress or arugula/rocket
Char bell peppers over the flames of a gas burner, turning with tongs until blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, broil them 2 or 3 inches from heat source). Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with saran wrap, and let stand until cool. Scrape off skins with a paring knife and wipe flesh clean with a paper towel. Keeping stems intact, cut peppers in half lengthwise, then remove and discard seeds. Arrange on a platter and season with salt and pepper.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Add 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar first to the sauce before adding more. Enjoy!
It seems like a such long time since we last had linguine. The cauliflower in the fridge had been carefully selected for another dish but I wasn’t in the mood and decided last minute to make this. I always have a bottle of capers and anchovies in the fridge so all that was needed was a bit of spice. Dried chili pepper flakes are a perfect companion for this recipe. Capers are an often overlooked garnish, but they make a tasty addition to Italian dishes of all types – used as a seasoning in pasta and salads. Capers are a good source of protein, fiber and iron. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source for folate, vitamin K and dietary fiber. An easy vegetarian meal to throw together in 30 minutes.
small head of cauliflower, trimmed & cut into florets
2 tablespoons capers
4 anchovy fillets, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (or more if you like it hot)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 400f. In a bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until cauliflower is al dente and bits of brown starting to show. Remove from oven and set aside. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. While pasta is cooking, in a large sauté pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add anchovies and allow to dissolve in the oil then add garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until fragrant – keep an eye on this to make sure garlic does not brown. Remove from heat and add cauliflower, toss to combine.
When pasta is cooked, drain all but half a cup of the liquid. You may need to add this liquid to the pasta. Place sauté pan with cauliflower over medium heat and add drained linguine. Toss to combine and add pasta water if it looks a bit dry. Season and finish off with a splash of olive oil. Serve immediately.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Adjust ingredients accordingly…I love the flavor of anchovies so I end up using more in this recipe as well as a bit more chili pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Enjoy!
The tail end of Spring is drawing to a close and thankfully the warmer weather has arrived. And because of this, the air in our neighborhood is perfumed with food being cooked on backyard barbeques. If you don’t barbecue you almost feel left out. When I head out to our back deck to fire up the grill, my stomach grumbles as I get a whiff of someone using their barbeque. I love this time of year. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai lan (Chinese kale). It’s more delicate in flavor than broccoli and can be eaten raw or lightly sautéed.
adapted by The Gardener & The Grill
1 to 2 anchovy fillets, mashed into as paste
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
2 bunches broccolini, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce, whisk together all ingredients and set aside. Light your barbeque to a medium-hot fire. Place broccolini on a plate and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until broccolini is al dente, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with sauce.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Fresh and simple! Make sure broccolini is similar in size otherwise the larger pieces will take longer to cook and will result in the smaller ones becoming burnt. Serve this right off the grill or at room temperature. Summer is just around the corner…Friday, 21st of June. Enjoy!
I was in the city yesterday meeting Mr. S. for a cappuccino and then off for a bit of retail therapy. I mustn’t have been in the mood as nothing I saw grabbed me except for when it came to a bit of food shopping at Eataly. It’s my favorite specialty shop in Manhattan showcasing all things Italian. If you have never been, you’re missing out on quite an experience. They offer hard-to-find Italian food items that other grocers don’t seem to have or carry on a regular basis and their market has housemade bread, pasta, mozzarella, gelato, and pastries. Even if you don’t want to buy groceries here, it’s a great place to eat at one of their 9 restaurants. Want to learn more about food? Take a cooking class or dine at their monthly chef’s table and learn more about the regional cuisine as the chef prepares your meal. It’s worth a visit even if only to walk around Eataly and take in all the sights and sounds.
adapted from Food & Wine
2 pounds asparagus
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
7 anchovy fillets in oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons lemon zest
juice of one lemon, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 425°. On a baking sheet, toss the asparagus with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once, until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, simmer the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil with the anchovies over moderate heat, stirring, until the anchovies dissolve. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the panko brad crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and lemon zest. Transfer the roasted asparagus to a serving platter. Drizzle with lemon juice, top with the panko and serve.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Unbelievable flavors coming from this dish! If it’s just the two of you, like it was for us, take only the amount of asparagus you’d eat and adjust the panko crumb mixture accordingly. Enjoy!
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