I love Autumn and its wonderful products and last week I made a lunch using four seasonal ingredients: Porcini mushroom, pistachios and chestnuts from mount Etna, Feijoa form Acitrezza and Lampuca, courtesy the Mediterranean sea.
I used Etna's porcini in a simple pappardelle pasta dish with Parmesan and parsley. Simply great!
Then I prepared Lampuca with a Feijoa sauce.
Lampuca, which is dolphin-fish (mahi-mahi), is in season right now, and is a fish I really love. It belongs to the bluefish family and its meat is firm, tasty and versatile.
We are well into autumn now, the perfect time to start cooking soups in the evening.
This is one of my favourite fish soups with cockles, mussels, clams and king prawns.
I got the shellfish from one of my favourite fishmongers in Siracusa and then rushed home to cook.
Just a splash of top quality white wine (I used a 100% insolia), then some garlic, freshly made cherry tomato sauce and chili.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with bread. I got the bread from a bakery in the small town of Cassibile, I love the one with sesame seeds.
This post was inspired by a question that my friend Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen asked her followers on FB few days ago: "Chili peppers are in season now. Are you cooking up anything with them (red or green)?".
I wrote "nice chili jam, great on strong Sicilian cheeses" and Yvonne answered asking whether my recipe was on my blog. That made me realize that it was time to write a post about it with recipe included.
This morning, my fishmonger had a great surprise for me: extra fresh wild sea bass (In Italian spigola or branzino).
Finding wild sea bass and sea bream is not that easy, most people buy farmed fish which is definitely less expensive, but the taste of wild sea bass is just at a different level: a concentrate, intense, yet delicate, taste of the sea.
"Sapi ri mari" ( it tastes like the sea), my grandfather Giovanni always said when he was happy with the fish we had prepared for him. So perhaps, as he suggested, buy it once, but go for the top quality option.
Yesterday, ho "incocciato" cous-cous. "Incocciare" is the Sicilian word indicating the art of making cous-cous typical of North Africa and the Western part of Sicily.
It is not easy and it takes practice, but the result is so much better than the pre-cooked packages you find at the supermarket! Fluffy and tasteful, I could simply have it on its own.
The ingredients are very simple, just "semola", which is semolina made from durum wheat (careful, this is not semolina flour, the one we call "semola rimacinata di grano duro"), salted water and extra-virgin olive oil.