An Easter dish
Lamb chops with capers and cream
This is neither a traditional roasted lamb dish nor a quick dish. You need to cook it with care before savouring it. But I guarantee its unforgettable taste and its success. So keep it for special occasions.
You need 500g. of lamb chops, one tbsp of olive oil, 30g. butter, one clove of garlic, sage, 200g. of thick double cream, two tbsp of capers, 10 tbsp of white wine, salt and pepper.
Put oil and butter in a pan. Let the butter melt and add the lamb chops and the garlic. Sprinkle the lamb with salt, pepper and sage on both sides. Add white wine and let the lamb chops cook for ten minutes. Add capers and cream and cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook for ten more minutes. Remove the lid and let the sauce dry a bit.
Serve the lamb chops warm with sauce and capers on top. Good side dishes are boiled potatoes seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and parsley, and boiled cauliflowers and broccoli seasoned with butter and vinegar.
Chicken breast fillets with prosciutto (or ham)
An easy way to earn a hug.
My children have always liked chicken breast fillets since they were little kids. It is tender meat which they could easily chew with their milk teeth and the taste is mild. I usually cut them in pieces of half an inch, dredge them with flour and salt and cook them in hot butter and oil.
Two weeks ago my eldest son announced he wished to introduce his girlfriend to us. She would come for the weekend. He was so happy about it that I felt proud of him. I was excited, too, as it was my first experience of this kind.
Before planning the menu I thought it was better to ask my son about it. I suggested our usual dishes, like carbonara or chicken breast fillets. He said chicken breast fillets was o.k. but no chilli in any dish. She did not like it.
I had to come up with something new and tasty. I started to experiment right away.
I prepared my chicken in the usual way and added one clove of garlic and 70 g. of prosciutto cut in pieces. I sprinkled some sage and rosemary on the whole as well and added four tbsp of white wine. I let them cook on both sides but towards the end of the cooking it was getting dry so I added some water.
My husband said it was all right but a little bit of chilli powder wouldn’t do any harm.
I needed to have another go.
After a few days I had my chicken breast fillets again. I cut them in pieces, dredged them with flour and set them in the pan with hot oil and butter. Instead of prosciutto I added 100 g. of thin sliced ham I had cut in pieces. I also added one clove of garlic, sage and rosemary but no white wine, instead two tbsp of thick double cream.
My husband licked his lips- it was delicious.
So this is the one I am going to do when she comes, I thought.
The great day arrived. I felt curious......and scared. Did I look all right? Was the house clean enough? My hair was in a mess as usual.
I must say I was flabbergasted when I saw my son and his girlfriend. They looked perfect, like a fairy tale couple. He is fair and muscular, she is a delicate brunette.
I made sure I was as discreet as possible and prepared my chicken, with ham and thick double cream, for Saturday dinner with the utmost care.
It was a success. She congratulated me and thanked me again and again for my cooking and the hospitality.
When she went away on Sunday evening she hugged me. I felt moved.
To resume here are the ingredients.
Prosciutto version for four people: 300 g. of chicken breast fillets, flour, salt, 70 g. of prosciutto, four tbsp of white wine, sage, rosemary, chilli powder, two tbsp of olive oil, 30 g. of butter, one clove of garlic, some water if it gets dry.
Ham version for four people: 300g chicken breast fillets, flour, salt, 100 g. of ham, two tbsp of thick double cream, sage, rosemary, two tbsp of olive oil, 30 g. of butter, one clove of garlic.
Lamb chops in white wine
When Easter approaches I always feel better. Warm weather is near, hopefully. Besides, my family love lamb dishes. Here is a delicious one, very tasty and easy to prepare. Hope you like it.
For four people you need:
Six lamb chops, a clove of garlic, rosemary, oregano, six green olives, six black olives, two tbsp of olive oil, half a glass of white wine, salt and pepper.
Pour the olive oil in a pan, add garlic and the lamb chops. Sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano and rosemary on both sides of the lamb chops. Let them cook for a while. Chop the olives, add the wine and cover the pan with a lid. Let it simmer for fifteen minutes or more, till it is cooked.
Serve with the juices from the pan and olives on top. For side dishes you can have mashed potatoes and spring greens seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and a clove of garlic.
A spring dish
Warm spring time calls for something cool. Here is a special stuffed pancake I prepared for my parents who visited me for the Easter holidays.
Their reaction? Well....they ate it, though they seemed to prefer more traditional food.
I think it’s super.
For the pancake you need: four eggs, half tbsp of flour, 1tbsp of milk, salt, oil.
For the filling you need: 80 g of tuna, half tbsp of capers, some leaves of fresh parsley, 100 g of ricotta, a tbsp of mayonnaise, a few drops of vinegar, salt and pepper.
Whisk the ingredients for the pancake and cook it in a hot oiled frying pan. In the meantime prepare the filling, mixing and blending all the ingredients. When the pancake is ready set it on a plate and spread the mixture on it. Roll the pancake, wrap it in tinfoil and let it cool in the fridge for one hour. Cut it in slices and serve it cold. You can use the mixture for canapés as well.
Fish is my favourite dish right through the year. My mother said that when I was a child they used to take me to the mountains or to the lakes near Rome to have a roasted trout in a regional restaurant. I ate it with such a gusto and so quickly that they were delighted.
In summer time it is a perfect second course after a generous plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce and basil.
For two people you need: two trout, the juice of one lemon, 10 g of parsley, one tsp of salt, pepper, vinegar, four tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and one clove of garlic peeled and finely chopped.
Clean and wash the trout and set them in a rectangular oiled tin. Chop the parsley and mix it in a bowl with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and garlic. Beat it for a while and spread the mixture on the trout inside and out. Let them rest for half an hour then roast them in the oven at 150° C, for 30/40 minutes.
I don’t need to cook when I am in Italy because I am often invited to meals or because we eat out, but I take a look at what other people prepare and copy the recipe, or even better, adapt it to my Anglo-Italian cooking style.
My mother made a fantastic polpettone one day so I asked her for the recipe. The word polpettone means a big polpetta (meat ball) because the main ingredient, mince, is what we use with meat balls. Actually it looks like a chubby meatloaf and the word is reminiscent of “a dog’s dinner”...a typical Italian wordplay. There is no messing about with the recipe, though!
It is a quick tasty dish which you can prepare in large quantities and freeze, as I usually do.
For four people you need.
250 g of minced beef, 250 g of minced pork, one bread roll soaked in a little milk and water, salt, pepper, parsley, 2 tbsp of parmigiano, one clove of garlic, rosemary and oregano, 5 tbsp of white wine, 100 g of ham (or mortadella), one egg, 2 tbsp of flour and olive oil and butter to fry.
Mix the minced beef and pork in a large bowl, add salt (about a tsp), pepper, parsley, parmigiano and the egg. Chop the ham and add it to the mixture. Squeeze the bread roll and add it to the mixture. Mix everything with your hands and form a thick loaf (or two loaves). Roll it in the flour and fry with oil and butter on both sides for 10-15 minutes. Finally bake it in the oven (150°C) for forty-five minutes on a greased oven tray with garlic, white wine, oil, rosemary and oregano. When it is cool cut it in slices and serve it with its juices.
Good side dishes are green peas cooked with butter and roasted sliced potatoes.
Saltimbocca alla romana
No pasta this time.
This is a traditional recipe from Rome, my birthplace. It is simple but delicious.
For four people you need 400 g. of thin-cut steaks of beef or veal, 120g. of prosciutto, 30g. of butter, two tbsp of olive oil, two or three tbsp of white wine, warm water, some sage leaves, cocktail sticks, salt and pepper.
The beef steaks must not be thick so use a meat pounder or your fist to make them thinner. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the meat. Some people like to coat them with flour as well. Put a slice of prosciutto on the steak and a leaf of sage on it. Skewer them to the meat with a cocktail stick.
In a frying pan warm olive oil and butter. Cook the steaks on both sides adding the wine at the end. When they are ready set them on a plate and add two or three tbsp of warm water to the sauce left in the pan. Let it cook a few more minutes and pour the sauce on the steaks.
By the way ‘saltimbocca’ means ‘jumping in your mouth’. You can’t wait to eat them!