First, what’s frittata?  I turned to wikipedia for the “official” definition:

“A frittata is a type of Italian omelette that frequently features fillings such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Like a normal omelette, a frittata is prepared in a skillet. However, whereas a normal omelette is cooked on a stovetop and served folded, a frittata is first partially cooked on a stovetop but then finished under the grill (broiler) and served open-faced

It sounds pretty accurate.  I would add couple of things:

  • A frittata is usually much thicker than a regular omellette.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for it to be about an inch.
  • It does not necessarily need to be cooked in the oven.  In fact, I have never used the oven.  Just keep the heat at medium-low with the lid on. Then turn the frittata around (see trick below) and you’ll be fine.

Like omelettes you can get very creative with the frittata.  A few weeks ago, we had friends over for brunch and I prepared two of them (1) sausage+onion, and (2) potatoe+leek.  In this post I’ll cover the first one. 

Ingredients (feeds 4-8 people):

  • four spicy sausages (you can also use regular ones).  ps: get the good ones!!!
  • 10 eggs
  • one onion
  • salt. pepper, herbs (I used a bit of thyme)
  • olive oil (extra virgin)
  • I used a 8-inch pan

Steps:

1. I start by cooking the sausages by themselves in just a drizzle of oil.  In the meantime beat the eggs and add salt, pepper and the herbs.  When the sausages are brown take them out. 

 sausages cimg2938-600.jpg

2. Now add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and start sauteeing the minced onion.  Make sure to keep the heat on medium.  You don’t want to fry the onion.  When the onion start to turn golden add the sausages back to the mix and let cook for a minute.

 cimg2937-600.jpg 

 3. Time to add the eggs.  I usually stir the mix for 30 seconds or so.  Cover with a lid and let it cook for 5-10 mins.  Keep the heat on medium-low.  You want to avoid that the bottom of the frittata sticks to the pan or burns.

 cimg2935-600.jpg

 (full disclosure.  This pix is taken from the other frittata I was cooking, as i forgot to take one at this stage)

4. After 5-10 mins it’s time to turn the frittata.  The actual timing depends on the pan that you use and heat.  in general you want to see that the frittata is almost set.  The top part may still have some liquid and that’s fine.  Time to turn it.  Here’s the sequence I use:

cimg2939-600.jpg  cimg2940-600.jpg  cimg2941-600.jpg

5.  When the frittata is on top of the lid I just slide it back in the pan.  After 2-5 mins on medium-low heat it’s ready to go.  Just take it out and you’re done!

 cimg2942-600.jpg

Enjoy!!! 

I was just reading the corriere della sera and they were reporting that Forbes published the list of the top 12 most expensive restaurants in the world.

The list looks very impressing and unfortunately I have not been to any of them :(.  So, I added them to my wishpot wishlist!

  • La Pergola – This is an Italian joint in Rome 
  • Tetsuya – a Japanese restaurant in Sydney
  • The French Laundry – The Napa Valley Destination (note the capital N!).  I tried to go to this one, but we could not get a table
  • Masa – THE sushi place in NYC
  • Joel Robuchon – In Vegas.  I actually went to the “cafe” version.  That was one of the the most “upscale” cafe I have been, so the real thing must be really good.
  • Alinea – in Chicago.  I’d never heard of it.  I guess it’s in my todo list for when I go to Chicago.
  • Toque – in Montreal
  • El Bulli – I really want to go to this place.  It’s a the top of my restaurant wishlist! Ferran Adrià has achieved a god-status chef level and I really want to check it out.  Hope that it’s worth the $300/person (without wine!).
  • l’Arpege – in Paris
  • Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – In London.  After seeing Gordon Ramsey on kitchen nightmare (not the Fox version…the BBC one is much better) he has really become one of my favorite chefs.  Too bad it’s almost impossible to get a reservation.
  • Aragawa – In Tokyo.  The rumor has it that they have one of those nice $400 steaks.
  • Bukhara – in Delhi.   

The one thing that seems to be clear is that (1) wine is not included in any of the prices mentioned in the Forbes article.  Anyone should know that makes or break both the meal and the bank! (2) It seems that the rank is based solely on the “standard preset meal” – of course you could spend lots more if you ordered off the menu or you went for special menu.    There was also a good post about this sometime ago on the vinography blog and they recommended to triple the prices. 

Anyway…it seems there is some good place to go, regardless from where you are.

I have never been a baker.  So, when I need to make dessert I usually improvise and put together a few things.  My basic principle – everyone likes ice-cream with some liquor!

For this quick one I bought:

  • box of fresh raspberries
  • ice-cream (i think it was french vanilla – get a good one!)
  • angel food cake
  • liquor – i used triple sec.

Here it is:

Raspberry-AngelFoodCake-CucinaDiMax

Enjoy!

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Summer is in full swing in Seattle and it’s great time for “summer food”.

Couple of days ago I prepared a grilled pranw salad.  It takes about 5 mins and it very tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of prawns (medium size)
  • half bell pepper
  • a few slices of chopped hot chilli pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil  (3-4 tablespoons)
  • garlic
  • salt, pepper

Quick steps:

1 – In a small bowl add the olive oil, chopped garlic and chopped chilli peppers.

basics

2 – On the bbq start cooking the shrip, it really takes a few mins (couple of mins each side)

bbq  cooked

3 – Now mix the chopped tomatoes, bell pepper and olive oil mix.

almost

4 – time to serve!

prawns_plating

Enjoy!

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The summer is finally here in the Pacific Northwest…that means that the temperature is above 70 and wild salmon is fairly cheap. So yesterday a BBQ was in order!

We went for a different spin of salmon on the grill and cooked it “al cartoccio”.

In Italian “al cartoccio” refer to the practise of cooking something wrapped in foil (or baking paper). There is “pasta” al cartoccio, there is “fish” al cartoccio. Now that I think about I have never seen any meat-based food being cooked using this technique. The one think that I like about it – especially for seafood – is that keeps the fish moist.

The list of ingredients is fairly flexible. The basic idea is to get a big piece of fish (or small for that matter) and a few veggies to keep it “fresh” (think tomatoes, leeks, fennel, onions, etc…). My list from yesterday:

  • Salmon fillet (i believe it was close to two pounds)
  • one tomato
  • red onions
  • few slices of lemon
  • italian parsley (you could also add time and/or dill)
  • some olive oil (extra virgin – about 3 tablespoons)
  • white whine (about 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper
  • Foil

The steps are super easy.

1. Take a big piece of foil and create a “baking pan” look-a-like shape, lay the salmon fillet on top of it and add all your ingrendients (veggies should be chopped).

step1 step1b

2.  Take another piece of foil and properly cover the fish, like in the picture below.

step3

3.   Time to cook it!  In this case is super easy…just cook it on the bbq!

bbqstep4

4.  Now the tricky part is the cooking time.  The good news is the the wine, olive oil, veggies and cartoccio-effect will keep the salmon very moist.  I usually let it cook for about 25-30 mins.   The result is usually great for couple of reasons (1) when you break the cartoccio the vapor comes out and there is a big WOW effect (2) it is actually very good and fresh.

finalsalmon

Keep it mind that you can use this technique for much smaller portions.  In fact, I would advise to do so and possibly go for simple portions.  The WOW factor will be even bigger as each guest can open their own cartoccio!

Enjoy!

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If you like food and you are in my region (Abruzzo) then there is one restaurant you MUST visit: L’Angolo da Filippo (also known as “Angolino” – “the little corner”).

The restaurant is one of my town institutions. It was founded in 1891 and it’s rocks! Wow!

Over the course of the years the menu has changed, the restaurant was extensively remodelled, but it always carries a great of “tradition” forward.

I went there with friends a few days before I left and I took pix of what we ate.

We started off with a round of cold appetizers (mostly carpaccios):

appetizer one  appetizer two

followed by a round of warm appetizer:

appetizer warm warm appetizer two clams 

It’s easy to spot the prawns and clams in the pix.  The middle one is a lot more interesting, aside from the prawn there is a fantastic fried zucchini with shrimp paste, baccala’ with bell peppers\onions and one of my favorites – cuttlefish with potatoes.

We moved to the pastas:

pasta pasta 2

The first pasta is “spaghettoni with bottarga e pannocchie” (pannocchie is typical in my region and close to prawns).  It was just amazing…  but the next pasta was even better “gnocchetti with pesto and shrimp”… holy $%$% it was soo good! The pesto was very light, the gnocchetti would just melt in your mounth.  Wow…

After the pasta we decided to also order the “secondi” (second dish).  The good news is that since we ordered late we got about 20-30mins to rest :).  We were ready for what was coming next:

arrosto misto dentice

Some of us ordered the “arrosto misto” (left).  I was one of the lucky ones to go for the “dentice in crosta di pistacchio”.    The dentice (still trying to find the english name) was just amazing.  I was extremelly impressed.

We closed the meal with a mix of “semifreddi” and coffee.

Overall the meal was impeccable.  Loved it.  Service was also great.  If you ever go there tell Carlo that Max sent you! 

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It has been a while since my last post.  I have been in Italy for quite a bit and I did some serious eating!!!

The bad news is that I am now back to a strict diet, the good news is that I have some good material to post!