Tag Archives: side dish

Roasted capsicums with breadcrumbs and olives

This simple dish comes courtesy of Rosa’s Farm, a lovely cookbook with recipes you would actually cook, and not just imagine cooking.  It can be served as part of an antipasto or as a side dish with a main course. In the recipe she suggests putting the capsicums on a baking tray; I put it in a baking oven-to-table dish so that I could prepare and serve all in one dish. I also upped the quantity of parsley

roastcapsicum

Ingredients
6-8 red capsicums
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
3/4 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/3 cup chopped continental parsley

Making it
1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Cut the capsicums, remove seeds and cut into strips. Place in a bowl, add oil and season to taste with salt and pepper, mixing well. Place on a baking tray or in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes – stir them three or four times while cooking

3. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the olives and breadcrumbs, mix and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until capsicum are tender

4. To serve, sprinkle with parsley

Crispy Potato Roast

I loved the look of this dish by Martha Stewart, but even better it tastes fantastic. The recipe called for russet potatoes, I just used brushed potatoes. Unless you are a Knife Ninja, you’ll really need a mandoline (one of my key kitchen gadgets) for this, not only to get the potatoes super thin, but so that the slices are consistent. The thinnest setting on my mandoline is 0.75mm, so that is what I used.

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Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2kg potatoes, peeled
4 French eschallots, thickly sliced lengthwise
Salt
8 Springs thyme

Making it
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees fan forced. In a small bowl, combine butter and olive oil. Brush the bottom and sides of a 22cm baking dish with the butter mixture and reserve the rest.

Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes as thinly as possible. Arrange the potato slices in the dish, then wedge the eschallots randomly amongst the potatoes.

Season well, getting some salt in between some of the slices, then brush over the potatoes all the remaining butter mixture.

Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes, then scatter over the springs of thyme, and bake for a further thirty minutes. Fabulous!

Caponata – Italian sweet and sour

Caponata is a humble but delicious Sicilian eggplant dish.  While the origin of the name is unknown, it is considered by many Siciliani to be a core dish of the region’s cuisine . Typically served at room temperature or even cold, it makes a great side dish for fish or grilled chicken.  Or even for breakfast on some crusty bread with a fried egg.   The quantity below is enough as a side dish for 8-10, however it keeps well in the fridge for a good few days if you’re keen on making a batch and eating it gradually. I had some the following day from the refrigerator and it was even tastier with more developed flavours. Variations on the theme – some versions add toasted pinenuts and sultanas. Also add some fresh basil if you have it on hand.

caponata3

Ingredients
4 medium eggplant
Salt
Olive oil for frying
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
1 large brown onion, diced
2 cups celery, cut into 1cm pieces
1/2 cup green Sicilian olives, pipped and quartered
2 tablespoons salted capers, well rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon raw sugar
50ml red wine vinegar
1 tin peeled tomatoes

Making it
1. Cut eggplant into 2cm cubes, sprinkle with salt and leave for 20-25 minutes. Rinse and dry with paper towels.
2. Put a generous amount of olive oil in a frypan, heat, and fry the eggplant in batches until golden and soft but not collapsing. Line a colander with paper towels and drain the eggplant, using more paper towels as needed.


3. In a heavy based frypan, heat the 2 tablespoons of extra olive oil and saute the onion until soft, then add the celery and saute for another 5-7 minutes. Add the eggplant, capers olives, sugar, red wine vinegar and tomatoes, gently combine and simmer on low heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes
4. Remove from frypan and place in a serving bowl and allow to cool

 

Sicilian Baked Eggplant

There are a few people somewhat partial to eggplant in the Napoli household, so I’m often on the lookout for new things to do with it.  I first saw this recipe on Please Pass the Recipe, who in turn saw it on the Dish Magazine website.  I thought it sounded delicious, but I put my own spin on it and did it slightly differently (other versions used honey, capers and yoghurt), so perhaps I should name it Calabrese Baked Eggplant.  This one’s a keeper.

Ingredients
2 large eggplants
12 cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly seasoned
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
30g pine nuts
175g ricotta

To serve
1 cup roughly torn basil
Zest of one lemon

Making it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan forced. Line a baking dish with baking paper

Cut the eggplants in half, keeping the stem. Then cut each half into 4-5 slices (will depend on the size of your eggplant), once again keeping the stem intact, and fan out the slices. Lay them on your baking tray.

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Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar and whisk until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Spoon or brush it onto the eggplant, ensuring it gets between the layers. Scatter over the cherry tomoatoes.

Bake for one hour, basting with juices every 15 minutes. I found a pastry brush was the easiest way to do this (there won’t be much juice at the first 15 minute mark). After you do the 30 minute basting, sprinkle over the pine nuts and dot the ricotta over the eggplant and return to the oven.

After an hour, switch off the oven and allow to sit in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the basil and lemon zest. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad. Buonissimo.

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Whole roasted cauliflower

This is one of Neil Perry’s recipes that originally appeared in the weekend paper. It is great to serve as a side dish and very easy to prepare.  The first time I made it I thought it could do with more dressing, so I upped the quantities the second time, my quantities are below.  The next time I’ll also throw some lightly toasted pine nuts in for a little texture.

cauliflower

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 220°C.
Lightly oil a baking dish that will fit the cauliflower and trim off the leaves. Trim the base of the stalk so it is flat and cauliflower can stand upright, then cut a cross into its base (this apparently helps it cook evenly).

Drizzle the olive oil over the top of cauliflower and sprinkle with the salt. Bake cauliflower until tender, about one hour. Check by piercing the cauliflower with a paring knife, which should go through easily.

While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the dressing.

Dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp salted baby capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, capers, parsley and salt in a small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil.

Drizzle cauliflower with dressing and serve whole with a large serving spoon.

Fig, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella salad

figbufffalo

Recipe inspiration can be found everywhere these days. This one was inspired by a recipe I saw on an inflight magazine, and takes simple ingredients that work nicely together. Serves 6-8

250g rocket leaves
250g sliced prosciutto
250g buffalo mozzarella
8 figs cut in quarters

Dressing
100ml honey
100ml white wine vinegar
150ml water
handful of thyme sprigs
100ml extra virgin olive oil

To make the dressing, place the honey, vinegar and water in a small pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 or so minutes until it has reduced by a third. Add the thyme, remove from heat and allow to steep until cool. Remove the thyme then add the olive oil and whisk.

Lay the rocket leaves on a platter and pour over dressing. Layer on prosciutto, torn buffalo mozzarella and figs. I bought my buffalo mozzarella at Salt Meats Cheese, but you can also buy it at Italian delis.

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George’s Cabbage Salad

After a recent great evening with George Calombaris, I received a copy of his new cook book, Greek.  It is a truly stunning book visually, with some great recipes. I love the line in the introduction: “if you’re not in the mood to cook, if you’re just not feeling it, don’t do it.  Just read the book and enjoy the pictures, then come back when you’re ready.”

This recipe is the cabbage salad he serves at Jimmy Grants. If you can’t find the Greek cheese, pecorino (which is more readily available) is a possible substitute. It is a lovely fresh crisp salad, though next time I will use my mandolin rather than a knife to get the cabbage finer.

cabbage salad

Ingredients
1/4 red cabbage, very finely shredded
1/4 drumhead cabbage, very finely shredded
2 tablespoons dill springs
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 French eschallots, finely sliced
100g kefalograviera cheese

Dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
185ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

To make the dressing, whisk the balsamic and honey until the honey has dissolved, then whisk in the mustard and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Toss together the cabbage, eschallots, herbs and dressing. Season and transfer to a serving dish. Grate the cheese over the top and serve