Tuesday, September 25, 2012
I’ve been lucky enough to go on quite a few learning trips with Oldways. These are symposiums that take place in different locations in the Mediterranean where journalists, chefs, nutritionists, scientists and vendors get a chance to learn more about different aspects of traditional ways of growing, preparing and eating meals.
While each trip is very different, certain elements repeat themselves. Things like olive oil, and olives for instance are pretty much a given. And even if each trip itself is full of a widely varied list of local things to eat and drink, there is usually one item that keeps getting repeated at each meal on each trip,
By the end of trip to the Amalfi coast I think I must have eaten my own weight in baba'.
Puglia of course was all about the orecchiette.
On Lesbos I grew quite familiar with ouzo.
After the trip to Emilia-Romagna it was quite a while before I could drink another glass of Lambrusco.
My recent Oldways trip to Pantelleria was no different. I think that I can honestly say that I ate Insalata Pantesca and Caponata at least twice a day, every day, for the entire trip.
Which was actually ok with me. And, if you want to know the truth, I’ve made both since I’ve been back home.
Insalata Pantesca is more or less a slightly different version of a Greek Salad. Basically take out the feta and add potatoes, and you’ve got yourself a Pantescan Salad.
Pantesca Caponata is different than regular caponata because it is eaten warm. Also, it's topped by toasted almonds which make all the difference.
And, of course, the main seasoning in both these dishes is - since we are in Pantelleria - capers.
Since I brought back about 3 kilos of capers I figure we’ll be eating both these dishes on a regular basis. Maybe you will too.
3 boiled potatoes
5 ripe red tomatoes
1 red onion, sliced
30 grams capers
Slice potatoes into chunks. Add sliced tomatoes, onion, olive and capers.
Season with oregano and salt and dress with olive oil.
50 gr. olives
50 gr. toasted almonds
20 gr. capers
1/4 cup olive oil
3 celery stalks
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tabelspoons sugar
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 cup water
Olive oil for frying
Peel the eggplant and cut into cubes. Salt and let drain their liquid for an hour.
Put the olive oil in a frying pan and add the celery and onion and water. Cook until tender and water has evaporated, over medium heat. Add capers, olives, sugar and tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
In a separate pan add enough olive oil and fry the eggplant cubes. Remove from oil and add them to the other pan. Stir. Adjust for salt.
Serve topped with toasted almonds.
Both of these recipes were adapted from La Cucina di Pantelleria by Gianni Busetta which is a lovely book full of local recipes. I can't find it for sale online, but you can try to contact La Nicchia where I bought it.