Zucchini Alla Scapece

6 small zucchini, cut in triangles
1-3 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
splash of balsamic vinegar
handful of chopped fresh mint
Sprinkle the cut zucchini with salt and place in a colander in the sink to drain, let sit for 2 hours. This draws some of the water out of the zucchini, so it is not mushy when cooked. Fry the garlic a bit in the oil, add the dried zucchini (dry with a paper or cloth towel), and gently cook them, stirring occasionally, to brown. Serve sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and mint. Serve warm. Serves 4.


Tuna Mousse

Another fabulous dish by our Italian friend Luciana. This recipe sounds strange--and way too rich. But it is light, deliciously creamy and great spread on bread or stuffed into cherry tomatoes or small red peppers.
2 cans of tuna, packed in oil, drained
a stick of softened unsalted butter
1 Tbs. capers
2 anchovy filets (packed in oil, drained, "filetto di acciuga sott'olio")
Blend tuna fish with capers and anchovies. It's best to do it in two batches because the mixture is thick and the blender will stick. Blend thoroughly. Whip the soft butter until light with electric mixer, add tuna in batches, whipping the mixture. Scoop into bowl and freeze for and hour, then put in the fridge. Take out about an hour before serving so it softens. I served it a bit too soon, so it was hard and not easy to spread. When it comes to room temperature, it is fluffy and rich and full of tuna flavor.
Luciana suggested substituting half the quantity of butter with whipping cream--please post on this blog if you try it! Pair with Prosecco.


Viva Italia!

Your Online Gr@pevine Editor just returned from two weeks in Italy--the land of great food and wine! Lemon and asparagus risotto, nutty hard cheese from Bormio, Prosecco, chewy rolls drenched in olive oil and topped with Caponata, Barbaresco, marinated tuna carpaccio, Limoncello...the Italians really know how to live.

In the next few weeks, I'll be translating my recipes (some scribbled on the backs of napkins by the chef) and posting them here, so check back. To start, the marinated tuna carpaccio, which was part of the feast our new Italian friend Luciana prepared for us our last night in Lago Maggiore:

Italian recipe, from Luciana:
Carpaccio di pesce (tonno o pesce spada)
Ingredienti: pesce tagliato sottile, succo di limone, sale , pepe, olio di oliva, poprezzemolo tritato con un poco di buccia d'arancia(solo parte arancione)o aneto
Adagiare sul piatto le sottili fette di pesce (preparare circa un'ora e mezza prima di consumare)
salare e pepare, aggiungere olio quanto basta , succo di limone, lasciare macerare per 15' poi girare le fettine, aggiungere succo di limone e prezzemolo tritato fresco, a piacere potresti aggiungere un poco di aglio tritato.

My interpretation:
Ingredients: Sushi grade tuna or swordfish (please only buy sustainably caught!) cut into thin slices by a very sharp knife, lemon juice, salt, pepper, good quality olive oil (essential for the best flavor!), chopped parsley, grated orange zest (the peel), minced garlic (if desired). Let marinate about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with mint. I used 1/2 pound tuna, juice of one lemon, sprinkles of salt and pepper, about 3 tbsp. chopped parsley, a cup of Sicilian olive oil, grated peel of one orange and a splash of good balsalmic vinegar. I marinated it all day, turning the fish now and then.

We had this in Italy served with Prosecco--very delicious, but paired it this time with the 2001 Matrix Mazzocco (coming soon to Touring & Tasting, so check the Wine Cellar in the coming weeks for this wine) and loved the meal. Rounded it out with steamed organic vegetables and baby red potatoes topped with a dry-jack-style Italian cheese--perfetto!