• 4 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups farro (10 0z)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 pound tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh chives
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Add water and farro to a medium saucepan; add 2 tsp. salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, simmering until tender, from 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well; then transfer to a large bowl to cool.

    Add the tomatoes, onion, chives and parsley to the farro; toss to combine.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, pepper and olive oil. Add to the salad and toss to coat. Test for salt.

    The salad is ready to serve, although you may refrigerate it overnight. Bring it to room temperature before serving. It is also quite wonderful served with grilled vegetables for a light summer meal.

    PANZANELLA, or bread salad
  • 6 slices crusty Italian bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 1/4 cup white apple vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3 cloves peeled garlic, minced finely
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 to 8 Heirloom tomatoes,various types, cut coarsely
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch arugula or watercress or chopped basil
  • In a baking sheet with sides, pour vinegar, water, salt, pepper and honey, mixing it together so that it creates a layer of the liquid all over the bottom of the pan.

    Place the bread into the liquid, flipping the bread over so it absorbs the mixture until all the liquid is absorbed.

    Mix together the minced garlic and olive oil and brush it onto the bread. Place the bread onto a different baking sheet, cover it with parmesan cheese and bake in a 375°F oven for 5-7 minutes. The bread will still be soft but the cheese will lightly brown. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool down.

    Cut the tomatoes and evenly distribute them onto the bread. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a few leaves of watercress or arugula or chopped basil and serve.

  • 3 medium fennel bulbs
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 3 anchovies
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Trim the stalks and root ends of the fennel. Cut away any bruised or wilted parts. Slice the fennel bulbs lengthwise about ¼ inch thick. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to taste and when the water returns to the boil, drop in the fennel slices.

    Cook until crisp but tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the fennel and place in one layer on papere towels to absorb excess water.

    In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil with the garlic cloves over medium heat. When the garlic is golden, add the anchovies and stir until the anchovies melt. Add the drained fennel and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.

    This batter works not only for zucchini, but other vegetables, seafood and chicken, and even for fruit fritters, like banana, pineapple and apple.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Salt
  • fresh mint, to taste
  • 1/2 cup beer, approximately
  • Safflower oil
  • Combine the flour, egg, butter, salt and beer in a food processor or bowl. Beat until the batter is smooth. Let the batter stand, covered, for four hours before using.

    Have vegetables well drained and patted dry if they have been washed.

    If using zucchini, grate it, salt it and drain it for at least 30 minutes. Then wipe it with a kitchen towel to get the excess moisture out of it. Drop the toweled dry zucchini into the batter and add mint.

    For other vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces or use whole flowerets; leaving green beans and mushrooms whole.

    Fry in about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of safflower oil, 365°F, about 5-7 minutes, until golden. Remove quickly and dry on paper towels.

    Zucchini fritters can also be reheated in a moderate oven the second day, but taste best the first.

    Use the flowers of the male zucchini plants, which are somewhat larger than the females. They should look firm and fresh, and ideally the blossom should be just slightly open and you'll be picking our purchasing them early in the day.

    Since they're quite perishable, use them the day you find them. If you have a vegetable patch, you can plant some zucchini. It's worth the effort, and you'll have loads of them!

    Put them in the crisper section of the refrigerator until you're ready to cook them. Wash them gently and pat them dry.

    Our favorite way of enjoying zucchini flowers is dipped in batter and fried, because the crunchy saltiness of the crisp golden batter beautifully complements the sweetness of the flower itself, without overshadowing the flower's delicate flavor. Eat them hot!

    Serves 4

  • Ingredients:
  • 20 zucchini flowers
  • A pint (500 ml) whole milk
  • 3 heaping tablespoons flour
  • large egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • Preparation:
    Trim the stems of the zucchini flowers, remove the pistils, wash them gently and pat them dry just as gently.

    Prepare the batter with the milk, flour and egg. Heat the oil. Lightly salt the zucchini flowers, dredge them in the batter, and fry them until golden, then drain them on absorbent paper and serve them hot. They're wonderful.

    Note: You can also add one anchovy and a piece of mozzarella in each flower before adding the batter. If you use that method, twist the ends of the flower to close it after stuffing, before dipping it in the batter.

    The delicate flavor of zucchini flowers makes them an excellent container for other ingredients, in this case olives and ricotta.
    Serves 4:

  • 12 zucchini flowers, stemmed, pistils removed, gently washed and patted dry
  • 8 ounces (200 g) fresh ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons green olive paste
  • A few leek leaves
  • An egg white
  • White wine vinegar
  • 12 green olives, pitted and diced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A steamer
  • Trim the leak leaves to obtain twelve ribbons and blanch them in lightly salted water.

    Mix the olive paste with the ricotta, and season it to taste with salt and pepper.

    Rub the flower petals with egg white to help them stick to each other, and fill the flowers with the ricotta mixture. You may find it easier to do this if you gather the filling into a pastry bag with a wide nozzle, and squeeze it into the flowers. Tie the flowers shut with the leek ribbons, and steam them for 5 minutes.

    While they're steaming, pit and dice the olives. Whisk 4 tablespoons of olive oil and one half tablespoon of vinegar, seasoning the resulting emulsion with salt and pepper to taste, and mix in the diced olives. Spoon the sauce over the steamed zucchini flowers and serve.

    serves eight

  • 8 onions, skins attached
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Preparation:
    Preheat oven to 325°F.
    Boil the onions in a pot with water to cover for 7-8 minutes. Take the onions out, let them cool to the touch. When you can handle them, take off the skin and slice them in half, horizontally.

    Put them in a baking dish, cut side up with half of the olive oil. Dot them with butter.

    Baste them after ten few minutes. and bake until you notice a caramel coating on top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

    This is one of the most classic fillings for tomatoes; the tomatoes will work well either as an antipasto or as a side dish, and can be served hot, warm or cool. The potatoes are delicious, absorbing the juices as they cook.

  • 12 round, large tomatoes
  • 1 cup (150g) rice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Freshly shredded basil, parsley and oregano
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (170°C)

    Wash and dry the tomatoes, then cut around their caps and scoop out the pulp with a spoon, being careful not to puncture the tomatoes. Do the scooping over a bowl to catch all the liquid that drips from the tomatoes, and when you are done blend the pulp and the juice. Combine the blended tomato pulp with the remaining ingredients except the wine.

    Stuff the tomatoes with the filling without tamping down too hard, replace the caps, and put them in a lightly oiled oven proof dish. Add the slices between the tomatoes, standing them on their sides to fill up the spaces in the pan. Pour the wine into the dish and bake the tomatoes until done, about 45 minutes. Serve either hot or cool.

    Serves 3-4

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, washed, bagged and stored in the refrigerator for at least one hour
  • 6-8 large arugula (rugghetta) leaves, or equivalent, cleaned and stored in the refrigerator
  • 2 Tablespoons capers or 8-10 sliced and pitted green olives
  • 4-5 anchovy fillets, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Break the cold lettuce leaves and arugula leaves into manageable pieces and put them in a bowl large enough to fit all the ingredients loosely. Add the capers and anchovies. Add salt and grindings of pepper to taste. Mix well.

    Add olive oil and mix again. When ready to serve, add cheese and mix one more time, before serving.

    Note: It is possible to add artichoke hearts or avocado pieces or thinly sliced cucumber or walnut pieces, but this salad works equally well with just the bare ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

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