I wish that I was writing this post about some developments in my love lifeâ€¦but alasâ€¦the italian in question is only the type of cuisineâ€¦.
For me one of the greatest pleasures is cooking for friends and family, but it makes a lovely change when you contact an old friend to invite him for dinner and he counter offers with a day on his boat cruising on sydney harbourâ€¦.and Australia Day none the lessâ€¦.who could refuseâ€¦
So as an advance thankyou and to help us prepare our sea legs for a day on the boatâ€¦ I turned to Jamieâ€™s Italy for inspiration for a leisurely summery sunday night dinnerâ€¦.and ended up with the following menu for ades and his lovely wife jo, robbie and my dear friend missy helgs.
Â Â caponata with sourdough
Â Â crostini of smashed pea with mint & pecorino
Â Â marinated wild barossa olives
bbq calamari salad with fennel & tomato
peach & macadamia crostata with brown sugar gelato
The hand picked and cured olives went down a treat (theres nothing like telling your guests how you had wild olive trees growing along the road near your house when you lived in the beautiful Barossa Valley). And the caponata was all lovely eggplantey & tomatoey goodness but the star of the antipasto was the smashed pea crostini.Â As a former pea hater I am still finiding it hard to believe that the very vegetable that I used to hide under my knife can be sooo tasty but Jamie has come through with the goods.Â Think of pesto without the pinenuts and the basil replaced by tender sweet freshly podded peas and fresh mint leave and youâ€™ll have an idea of what Iâ€™m talking aboutâ€¦â€¦all good thingsâ€¦.
crostini of smashed pea with mint & pecorino
Iâ€™ve doubled up on the cheese used but the following is mostly stolen shamelessly from Jamie Oliverâ€™s Jamieâ€™s Italy.
makes about 12 crostini
2 handfuls freshly podded peas
1 handful mint leaves
1 handful grated pecorino
1 handful grated parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
12 1cm thick slices sourdough baguette
clove of garlic
mint leaves. to serve
Place mint and peas in a food processor and pulse until smashed but still chunky (jamie uses a mortar & pestleâ€¦so if you need a workout this is an option). Stir through cheese and add enough olive oil to loosen. Add lemon juice to taste (I used about 2T) and season with s&p.
Grill baguette slices on a bbq or chargrill pan on both sides and while still hot rub one side with a cut clove of garlic. Top crostini with the pea pesto mixture and serve with each topped with a mint leaf.