These Recipes are from some of the healthiest cooking styles in the world. Traditional Sicilian meals like these have been brought down over the centuries.
I’d like to share some with you. Courtesy of my cousin Diana Albanese a gourmet cook from Breille NJ. If you enjoy these recipes, please e-mail her to thank her for these freebies.
Fennel Stuffed with Cheese, Pinenuts & Raisins
Serves 6, makes 12 stuffed fennel pieces4 large round fennel bulbs, about 5 pounds½ cup canned chicken broth4 tbsp. Olive oilSalt & freshly ground black pepper½ cup onion, finely minced1/3 cup golden raisins, plump in warm water for 20 minutes1/3 cup pinenuts1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated2 eggs, beaten lightly2 tbsp. dry plain breadcrumbs2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425°
Trim the base of the fennel bulbs. Cut across the tops and remove the stalks. Cut the fennel lengthwise in half and cut out the cores. Arrange the fennel in a shallow baking dish. Add the broth, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake until almost tender when pierced with a fork, 35-40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a skillet over medium heat add two tablespoons of oil and sauté the onion until tender and lightly colored. About 8 minutes. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
Separate the fennel layers using about 12 of the larger layers to stuff. Take the smaller inner layers and chop into small dice adding to the onions. Combine drained raisins, pinenuts, cheese, eggs to the bowl with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a small baking dish and arrange the fennel halves so that they fit tightly. Put about 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture in the fennel sprinkle with breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until topping is browned.
Makes 24-30 bruschetta1 loaf French bread, sliced and toasted lightly½ cup roasted red peppers13-½ oz. canned artichokes hearts¼ cup Calamata olives or green Sicilian cracked olives½ cup soppresata or salami, cut into ¼ inch cubes½ cup Asiago cheese or Parmesan cheese cut into ¼ inch cubesFresh black pepper2 tbsp. parsley, roughly chopped1 large garlic clove, cut in half3 anchovies, drained¼ cup olive oil +In a food processor, pulse peppers, artichoke hearts, and olives a few times to have a rough-cut. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and add diced soppresata, cheese. Season with pepper and mix. Can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead at this point.In a food processor puree garlic, parsley anchovies and oil. Set aside. Can be made ahead 1 day ahead.Preheat broiler. Spread 1 tablespoon of pepper and artichoke mixture on toasted bread. Drizzle some parsley and garlic mixture on top and cook for 4-5 minutes.
1-15 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup Calamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
¼ Sicilian green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. capers, rinse ½ cup or more olive oil
2 eggplants, about 1 pound each, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup celery, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 tbsp. currants or raisins soaked in warm water
2 tbsp. pinenuts, toasted ½ cup good olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Put the tomatoes, olives, currants and capers in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium high heat add 1/3 cup of oil. Add diced eggplant and cook for 15 minutes, browning on all sides. Taste for salt and pepper and place eggplant into large bowl. Lower the heat and add more oil to the pan if necessary and cook celery for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and add celery to cooked eggplant. Add more oil to the pan if necessary and cook onions until golden. Taste for salt and pepper. Add cooked eggplant and celery to the cooked onions in the skillet. Add tomato mixture and all the other ingredients. Cook for 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature or cold. Can be made up to a week ahead.
Goat Cheese Marinated with Tomato Oil & Garlic
Served with Grilled Garlic Bread
1½ cups olive oil
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded and diced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Red Pepper flakes to taste
Salt and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper
Three-10.5 oz. logs French Goat cheese, well chilled Fresh sprigs of herbs
2 French Bread loaves, sliced, grilled and rubbed with garlic
In a saucepan combine oil, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard thyme. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Place chilled goat cheese on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife dipped in hot water slice the cheese into ¼” pieces. Transfer to a gratin serving dish. Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the logs. Season with black pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with grilled bread. Do-Ahead Notes: Make the tomato oil 3 days ahead. Marinate goat cheese logs with tomato mixture one-day ahead of the party. Grill bread the morning of the party. Decorate with fresh herbs before serving.
Grilled Caesar Salad
1 large garlic clove cut in half
6-8 oil packed anchovies
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. mustard 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil ¼ cup water or more if needed
3 hearts of Romaine lettuce
½ cup pinenuts
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1. In a food processor add the garlic, anchovies, cheese, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, lemon, pepper and process until blended. Scrape down the sides of the processor. With the motor running slowly add the oil. If it is too thick add water. The dressing can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.
2. Preheat the broiler
3. Trim the ends of the Romaine hearts but leave intact. Slice the hearts in half lengthwise and place cut side up on a sheetpan. Brush the dressing over the lettuce leaves making sure that it goes in between the leaves. Sprinkle the pinenuts on the tops of the hearts.
4. Set the sheetpan on the top shelf in the oven and cook for several minutes. The lettuce will start to wilt and brown lightly. Remove promptly from the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan shavings on top. Serve warm.