Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Burrida ( - Dogfish - )

This specialty is Sardinia's version of the mainland's Burrida fish stew. An excellent way of dressing fish from the shark and skate family. In sardinia we prefer "Gattuccio"(Scyliorhinus Canicula), a little dogfish (50 - 60 cm) we can find in our sea.
The fish is poached in an aromatic broth with onion, carrot, celery, parsley, and a wedge of lemon, then served with a flavorful garlic sauce stretched with mild vinegar and thickened with crushed pine nuts or walnuts.


Ingredients:
  • 1 kg and ½ of lesser spotted dogfishes
  • 200 gr. walnuts or pine nuts
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • parsley, garlic, vinegar,salt,onion,carrot,lemon.


Preparation:

Carefully remove the liver from the dogfish and put it aside. After taking off the head, wash the fish properly and cut it into pieces that you will boil in a pan covered with water and a bit of salt, the onion (cut in pieces), the carrot, a bit of parsley and 4 slices of lemon. Cover the pan, take it the ebullition point and let cook slowly. Drain the fish and put it in a pot. In the meantime, shell the walnuts, put the kernels in a mortar in order to obtain a flour.In a terracotta saucepan, put the garlic, and once brown, add two vinegar spoons and let it evaporate, adding ½ a glass of water.Then remove the garlic, add the liver, parsley and the “walnut flour”, and let the all become tasty, stirring for couple of minutes.Turn of the fire, and let cool down. Drain the fish and put it in a pot or on a serving tray and once cool pour the sauce on it. Prepare this dish at least a day before serving, so that the fish can absorb the sauce.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Caipiredda

Did you never drink a Caipiredda?
A caipiredda is a caipirinha made with Fillu 'e Ferru instead of cachaça, and is a popular cocktail in Sardinia. You should travel to Sardinia to sample it! You should try.. lying on a beach under a sun umbrella, sipping you caipiredda...i't super!!
And now
let's learn how to make a scrumptious Caipiredda Cocktail!!

Ingredients:

  • Fillu 'e Ferru
  • 8 wedges Lime
  • Sugar
  • Crushed Ice

Mixing instructions:

Crush sugar into the lime wedges with a spoon. Place the lime wedges in the bottom of an 8 oz. glass. Cover with crushed ice. Pour Fil'u e Ferru to fill the glass. Serve in old-fashioned glass. It's a great summer drink to appreciate before eating.

"Filu e' Ferru" or "s'abba ardente"

Among Sardinian liquors, the symbol is surely the myrtle "sa murta", white and red, but now we will speak about "aqua vitae", more known with the name of "filu'e ferru".
“Filu 'e Ferru” is not a mysterious name anymore for the many people not coming from Sardinia who have sipped and appreciated it.
It is obtained by distillation of rapes; it is a colorless liqueur and with its adamantine limpidity, dryness, pure spirit and the grace of authentic marc, is a drink which is also an ancient symbol of Sardinia.
When, towards the end of the nineteenth century, heavy taxes were imposed on the producers of distillates and liqueurs, this ancient and widespread practice went...underground: its name (lit. ‘iron wire’) comes from the expedient used by clandestine distillers to hide their stocks underground, leaving only the end of a piece of iron wire (fil'e ferru) above ground in order to locate it; hence this drink's curious appellative.
It is an excellent digestive to be served in ambient temperature.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sardinian Knives

The knife is nothing but the extensions of the hand. This explains the perfection of the peculiarities of “Sardinian knife” known as "Leppa" or "Arrosoja".

The forging of knives, result of an ancient skill, requires particular care both in the sharpening of the blade and in the preparation of the handle carved from horn (of moufflons, buffaloes and goats). The most sought after horn is completely black with no veining. The handles are either smooth or accurately carved with brass (or copper) decorations and festoons.

The “leppa” is not the only typical Sardinian knife. History tells about World War One (1915-1918) when the soldiers of “Brigata Sassari” , famous for numerous deeds, launched many attacks with a knife, named “Guspinesa”. A knife with a cut-blade, not offensive but of sure efficacy, infact the soldiers cried “Forza Paris!” (come on, together!), trew the uncomfortable bayonets and fought hand to hand so the enemy troops fell back, demoralized and frightened by the emphasis and ability in the use of knife.

The ancient “leppa” wasn’t like that we know at present time but, it was a kind of sword 50/60 cm long!!



The "Arburesa" knife was born in Arb
us. The form of its blade is as a “wide leaf”, definited as “pot-bellied”.


The "Pattadese" knife was born in Pattada.
It is is a jack-knife and represents a typical Sardinian knife with the handle in ram or mouflon horn (a wild sheep native to the island).


The "Guspinesa" (from Guspini) has a position of respect in the history of Sardinian Knives.
It was born in the mining area of Sulcis (South-West of Sardinia) and it has a typical cut-blade because, Prime Minister Giolitti, in 1908, forbade the use of knives with point. Called also “miner knife”, it was used to cut and smear but it could not be an arm during the frequent quarrels among miners.



Fregula with Clams (or Fregula cun Cocciula)

This Sardinian specialty, the Fregula, is thought to be an ancestor of modern pasta. It consists of small, chewy balls made from coarsely ground semolina. It can be used as a bed for sauces, and it's also super in soups... but this recipe, where they are cooked with tomatoes and arselle (clams), is my favorite!!





INGREDIENTS:

* 150 g fine fregula ( 2 mm in diameter)
* 600 g live arselle (these are small clams)
* 1 cup white wine
* 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, crushed
* 350 g tomato sauce
* Italian parsley
* boiling water (some cooks use a dilute fish broth)


PREPARATION:


  • The first thing to do is cleaning the clams: Lightly salt the water in the bucket and let them sit in it for several hours, during which they will expel whatever sand they have in their shells.
  • Wash them under running water and set them in a large skillet; place the drained clams in a large pot or skillet whith 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 cloves of garlic, the parsley, the wine; then cover, and turn the heat to high. After 3 minutes check to see if any clams have opened and begin removing each one that opens, about 6 to 7 minutes in all Strain the juices in the pan and pour them over the clams. If one of the clams does not open, do not eat it. It was already dead and could make you quite sick.
  • Strain the clam broth remaining in the pot through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  • In a medium-size pot or earthenware casserole, heat the olive oil with the garlic over a medium-high heat until the garlic begins to turn light golden, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Then remove and discard the garlic. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well for about ten minutes. Pour in the hot water, salt, cayenne and reserved clam juice. Bring to a gentle boil, then add the fregula. Cook until al dente, about 16 to 18 minutes, then taste, and add a little salt if necessary. Stir in the clams and parsley and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and serve with an extra bowl to collect the empty shells.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dimonios - Inno della Brigata Sassari

AUDIO

China su fronte
Abbassa la fronte
si ses sezzidu pesa!
se sei seduto, alzati!
ch'es passende perchè sta passando
sa Brigata tattaresa la Brigata "Sassari"
boh! boh!
e cun sa mannu sinna
e con la mano benedici e segna
sa mezzus gioventude la miglior gioventù
de Sardigna di Sardegna

Semus istiga Siamo la traccia
de cudd'antica zente di quell'antica gente
ch'à s'innimigu che al nemico
frimmaiat su coro fermava il cuore
boh! boh!
es nostra oe s'insigna
Oggi le loro insegne sono nostre
pro s'onore de s'Italia per l'onore dell'Italia
e de Saldigna e della Sardegna

Da sa trincea Dalla trincea
finas' a sa Croazia fino alla Croazia
sos "Tattarinos" i "sassarini"
han'iscrittu s'istoria hanno scritto la storia
boh! boh!
sighimos cuss'olmina
seguiamo le loro orme
onorende cudd'erenzia onorando quell'eredità
tattarina "sassarina"

Ruiu su coro Rosso il cuore
e s'animu che lizzu l'animo come il giglio,
cussos colores questi colori
adornant s'istendarde adornano il nostro stendardo
boh! boh!
e fortes che nuraghe
e forti come i nuraghi
a s'attenta pro mantenere siamo sempre vigili per mantenere
sa paghe la pace

Sa fide nostra La nostra fedeltà
no la pagat dinari non ha bisogno di essere remunerata
aioh! dimonios! andiamo! Diavoli!
avanti forza paris. avanti, Forza Insieme!

Sardinia....


"They say neither Romans nor Phoenicians, neither Greeks nor Arabs ever subdued Sardinia. It lies outside; outside the circuit of civilization...sure enough it is Italian now, with its railways and its motor omnibuses. But there is an uncaptured Sardinia still."

D.H. Lawrence - The Sea and Sardinia,1921.

Roast Suckling Pig (or Proceddu Arrustu)

This magnificent roast suckling pig requires a GRAND OCCASION--perhaps a wedding, holiday, or gathering of great friends. It is well worth the effort.

There are two ways in which this traditional suckling pig is prepared:

In the first method, a fire is built with aromatic woods such as juniper, mastic, olive, arbutus, or holm oak.

The pig is splayed and affixed to a large strong stick in front of the fire, and basted with a chunk of pork fat.
Once the pig is done, it is smothered with myrtle leaves and left for 30 minutes before carving.

----
If you lack an outdoor fireplace or do not want to dig a fire pit, you can use your grill by piling all the coals to one side, setting a drip pan in the other side, and jerry-rigging the spitted pig over the drip pan, leaning it towards the heat of the coals.
---

Ingredients:
- One 4,5 - 6,5 Kg suckling pig, cleaned.
- One piece of pork fat or salt pork.
- Myrtle leaves




Preparation:
  • Prepare a hard wood fire in a fire pit and let it burn for 3 hours, replenishing as needed with wood, until you have a good supply of hot coals.Affix the pig to a straight hard stick and place 40-50 cm in front of the fire, chest side towards the fire. The pig should be leaning slightly towards the fire.Make sure there is a drip pan under the pig to catch the dripping fat.
  • Roast for 3 hours, basting with the salt pork or pork fat. Turn and continue roasting for another 3 hours. Test for doneness by quick piercing with a knife;if the blade is hot the pig is ready. Let the pig sit for 30 minutes on a bed of myrtle before carving.


For the second method, a large pit is dug in the ground and covered with rocks.

A large fire is built upon the rocks, and when it has burned for many hours, the pig is set upon it and covered with hot coals, which are then covered with myrtle branches.
The earth is piled on top, leaving no evidence of what is happening under the ground.
This method was typical of the bandits who once populated the desolate reaches of the island's interior.

Some Words about bottarga

"Sa Bottariga", as we call it in Sardinia, is a delicacy in our island, made from dried salted roe sacs of the tuna or the grey mullet. We think that both types are lovely provided they are suitably dried.

It is also known as the Mediterranian Caviar and sometimes called ‘poor man’s caviar’, but we think that this is a demeaning name, as bottarga is bottarga!
The best is made in coastal areas of eastern Sardinia and comes in two varieties: Bottarga di Muggine (Grey Mullet Bottarga) to differentiate it from Bottarga di Tonno (Tuna Bottarga).
In Mediterranean France, it is known as Poutargue.
In Egypt, grey mullet was the original roe used for Battarikh.

As overfishing depleted the stocks of large female mullets, smaller sized fish are used, and other species as well (grouper, sea bass, and others)... so if you want the best bottarga you have to search for sardinian one!!!

The roe sacs are expertly removed from the fish and sprinkled with sea salt for about a week before being pressed and then hung to be air dried for about a month. (In fact the length of drying is important: make sure you buy the product that has been dried for a long time as we feel this is superior).
They are hand pressed to get any air out of them. Then they are put in special presses to squeeze the moisture out of them.
At the first sight, Bottarga appears quite unique, odorless, and may look like a flat waxed sausage. But once the wax is removed, your taste buds will discover one of the most flavorful marine products.

The origin seems to be Phoenician (present day Lebanon) and in Sardinia we can found a lot of phoenician cities: Sulki (S.Antioco), Tharros, Nora...
In a 1386 document, a Catalonian-Aragonese ship captured another corsair ship from Oristano loaded with "eel and bottarga".
In 1400, one Batrolomeo Platina says that he has "no memory of eating anything more exquisite", and it being an "honest pleasure and for good health".

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Spaghetti with Bottarga

First of all, what is bottarga(or bottariga in sardinian language)?
Bottarga is simply dried salted tuna or gray mullet roe. If it is of good quality, it's a great delicacy that many consider rather randy.
The best Bottarga comes from Eastern Sardinia , and here's a pasta sauce for 4:





Ingredients:
  • 500 g spaghetti or linguine
  • 60 g bottarga
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • Italian parsley

Preparation:

Cook the spaghetti in salted water until they are al dente.
While it's cooking, we pare very, very thin slices from half of the block of bottarga with a vegetable peeler.
It needs to be thin but it also needs to be in sheets so that it clings to the tongue thus extracting the maximum ‘salty’ flavour.
Then pour the oil and the untouched bottarga into a saucepan on a very low flame.
Crush the bottarga with a fork, and stir until you obtain a paste.
Drain the pasta and turn it into a large saucepan.
Stir in the sauce and cook over a brisk flame for a minute, scatter on the parsley, stirring the pasta about energetically and serve the pasta in bowls topped with the slices of bottarga and then settle back for an amazing salt hit!

LikeParsley

Italian cuisine can differ greatly from region to region.
Often people not totally familiar with the range of foods in Italy assume everything is spaghetti and pizza when that is not the case.
Italy is well known for its wines, rice dishes, cured hams, pasta, cheeses, breads, and numerous other culinary delights.
In this blog I'll describe my recipes...
Buon Appetito!!!

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