an italian affair

I wish that I was writing this post about some developments in my love life…but alas…the italian in question is only the type of cuisine….

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 harbour….and Australia Day none the less….who could refuse…

So as an advance thankyou and to help us prepare our sea legs for a day on the boat… I turned to Jamie’s Italy for inspiration for a leisurely summery sunday night dinner….and ended up with the following menu for ades and his lovely wife jo, robbie and my dear friend missy helgs.

antipasto:
   caponata with sourdough
   crostini of smashed pea with mint & pecorino
   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.  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.  Think of pesto without the pinenuts and the basil replaced by tender sweet freshly podded peas and fresh mint leave and you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about……all good things….

crostini of smashed pea with mint & pecorino
I’ve doubled up on the cheese used but the following is mostly stolen shamelessly from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’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
lemon juice.
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 & pestle…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.

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{ 2 comments }

Mands April 2, 2006 at 11:31 pm

Im loving this !!!!! Jules your a star I can’t believe I have all your secrets at my fingertips and it has taken me 4 months to know about this!!!!

Looking forward to the camera purchase !!!

jules April 3, 2006 at 9:59 am

Thanks Mands
Glad you’re enjoying it…
I’m looking forward to the camera too!

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