D.The ad used to criticize us children when we said that we “love” certain foods, as it sounded jarring to their Italian ears. Love was reserved for people. But it is with true love that my father tends to some
My brother and his sons helped with this year’s harvest and quickly sent us some first bottles of the thick green oil. Typical tasting notes are cut grass, raw artichokes and a spicy finish in the throat that can take your breath away. All the recipes here lend themselves to being drenched with this, but what I add is a little more black pepper or a pinch of dried chili if I don’t have it on hand.
Cooking with this oil for a few months makes me feel happier and I feel blessed that this food culture found me. All my shirts pay the price of my oversaturation. Right now, I’m happily smeared with the stuff.
A Selection of Toast Covered is my antipasto of choice and is an absolute must in the fall. The bean smush is a favorite of my sister-in-law, who could scoop it out of a skillet and do without the bread altogether. Chianti may be the most appropriate wine for chicken livers, but use any; the sweet wine is particularly good, a hint of crudo at the end freshens things up. It serves
For the chicken liver crostino:
chianti or other red wine
For the other crostini:
bay leaves Some
lemon juice of
hard cheese finely grated
For the chicken liver topping, finely dice the onion and mince the garlic and sage. Rinse the capers. Clean the livers of any connective tissue.
Put the onion and garlic to sweat
At this point, turn off the heat and, using a spoon, remove the livers to a clean cutting board, not wasting any of the sauce that surrounds them. Mince the livers by hand or use a food processor (this saves a lot of mess, but be careful not to over-process the livers so they are totally smooth – some texture is welcome). Return them to the pan and turn the heat back on. Stir to combine and after 1 minute add the rest of the wine and another
Bring the beans to a boil with
Slice the fennel as thin as you can, using a mandolin, processor, or your sharpest, most resourceful knife. Season with lemon, a pinch of salt, grated cheese and
Tear the cabbage leaves and wash. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil with a clove of garlic. Let the garlic boil for 5 minutes before adding the cabbage and boiling for another 7 minutes, until completely soft.
When serving, check that everything is lukewarm, toast the bread, cut it into small pieces and lightly rub with the last clove of garlic and cover each slice individually. Top lightly with the fennel, then use tongs or a spoon to lift the cabbage, still wet, onto the bread to soften with a drop of the cabbage water. Then top the rest with warm livers and cannellini respectively. Add plenty of olive oil and serve immediately.
Gnocchi al cavolo nero
The long cooking of the cavolo is essential. Lose the ribs and the flat (non-moving) underside of the leaves. It serves
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil with the garlic inside. Boil the cavolo nero for 10-15 minutes. Remove with a skimmer to a colander. You can save the pot of water to cook the gnocchi later, instead of wasting it.
Once cool enough, gently squeeze the cavolo nero and chop it as finely as you can. Transfer to a large bowl and then add the beaten egg and cheese. Sift over three-fourths of the flour and mix briskly with your fingers. If it seems stiff enough to hold its shape, continue, otherwise use the rest of the flour.
Form parallelepiped pieces about 2 cm square between wet fingers. Place on a large floured plate or board, until just before ready to eat.
To cook, bring a large, deep pot of salted water to a boil, then boil the gnocchi for 5 minutes in a large pot. Remove with a slotted spoon directly to the serving plate, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan cheese.
Grilled pork with figs
A double thick pork chop is enough to
pork loin chops 2, cut about 5 cm thick
salt and pepper
rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs
Season the chops well with salt and set aside. Soak the figs in a cup of boiling water with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Poke a hole in each fig and place it inside.
To cook the pork, gather the herbs. Heat a grill pan on the stove. Drizzle a little oil over the pork and sear for 4-5 minutes until golden. Add half of the herbs; flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add the rest of the herbs. Remove from heat, drizzle more oil, squeeze the juice from the lemon, add it to the pan with the figs and bake for 7 minutes.
Remove and let rest before slicing and serving with extra-crude olive oil or a very good grind of black pepper.
Chocolate cake with amaretto
This is a sultry, decadent cake with a whisper of ganache on top, one that seems to hold its moisture and even get better with time. It serves
Salt a pinch
lemon enthusiasm of
For the ganache:
Heat oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Place a circle of greaseproof paper in a 20cm cake pan and grease with oil. Mix the flour, almonds and baking powder. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the olive oil, sugar, salt, and eggs for 3 minutes until thick. Gently mix the lemon zest and cocoa. Then add the flour and almond mixture and then the vanilla and amaretto. Pour into the sponge cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. Turn to a shelf.
For the ganache, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place a small bowl with the broken chocolate and olive oil over it and turn off the heat. When melted, drizzle an extra shot of amaretto over the cake before pouring in the ganache.
Joe Trivelli is Assistant Executive Chef at the River Café in West London.
Food design by Henrietta Clancy