Thank you for joining me once again for my latest personal challenge where I am preparing an Italian menu from antipasti to dolce. We are heading into our final leg of our Italian challenge to celebrate the opening of the movie based on Eat , Pray,Love Elizabeth Gilbert’s wonderfully crafted book about life changing experiences where she trades in her previously perfect life to travel the world "to find herself. " After a heart wrenching divorce she spends a year traveling in Italy, India and Indonesia. Each word in the title Eat, Pray, Love is expanded by her experiences in three countries. In Italy she indulges in the fabulous food and language. In India she finds new meaning in her life on her personal journey of self-awareness and enlightenment spending time in an Indian ashram. Then as a climax to the book she finally finds love in Bali, Indonesia.
If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my own cooking adventures. At the moment I am not travelling the world on my own personal journey as the author of Eat, Pray Love did but what I can do is infuse new life into my own kitchen. Since this is a food blog I am going to concentrate on the EAT part of the book so my next personal challenge will see me create an Italian menu from antipasti to dolce to celebrate the opening of Eat, Pray, Love the movie starring Julia Roberts. The movie opens August 13th.
We began our Italian adventure with an antipasto of Toasted Bread with Burrata and Basil . Next we travelled to the Italian coast for an il primo of Spaghetti con le Cozza. Next we moved to the secondo or "second course" which is the main dish with Agnello Scottadita (Burned Fingers) which is a dish aptly named. Now onto our contorno or side dishes. First we had a delicious version of Tiella that makes good work of seasonal vegetables. Now I am offering a Sicilian specialty Insalata d'Arance made with blood oranges. Italians would know for sure but it seems to me from I had read lately that the salad in an Italian menu is served at the end of the meal to cleanse the palate...and what a way to end!
Italian cuisine is all about the freshest, most flavourful ingredients prepared simply yet exquisitely. Gilbert's time in Italy is spent immersing herself in the romantic language and cuisine of Italy that we all love. My menu does not concentrate on just one region in Italy but embraces the entire country in my own culinary adventure to celebrate the release of the movie.
When I last visited one of our local Italian markets I was surprised to see blood oranges. These are something I usually associate with winter and are available imported in February, but, if they are here I am going to use them. In Sicily the oranges' flesh is so dark it’s nearly black which makes this zesty salad that much more colourful. Red onions are iced in water to take away their sting and paired with orange slices sprinkled with oil and ground pepper to make a pretty presentation that's bound to brighten any meal. This salad paired well with the grilled lamb. A simple and refreshing addition to any meal.
1 small to medium organic red onion, sliced into thin rings
3 to 4 blood oranges (tarocchi), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 anchovy ﬁllet (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons good red-wine vinegar
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/4 cup juice from the oranges
About 12 black Kalamata or Italian olives
Fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Half fill a medium-size bowl with ice, add the onion slices, cover with more ice, and fill bowl with cold water. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours.
In a small bowl, beat anchovy, oregano, garlic, vinegar, orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
Shortly before serving, fan the different colored oranges on a large plate. Drain the onions, pat dry, and tuck the onion rings here and there among the orange slices. Lightly dust the salad with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the salad with the dressing, scatter the olives over it, and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
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