Sgombro sott’olio fatto in casa (homemade olive oil cured mackerel)


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This picture shows a typical Italian summer salad:  fagiolini, patate e sgombro sotto olio – that is, green beans, potatoes and mackerel preserved in olive oil. It is a no-fuss, quick salad and most Italians would use shop-bought canned fish, but I have always found it very dry – and I did try also very expensive brands.  Fortunately, to preserve mackerel (and tuna, for that matter – but tuna is an endangered species and it is best avoided) in olive oil is dead easy and delivers a far better product – flaky, tender and not at all dry. The key is to poach the fish extremely gently and for a relatively short time. Continue reading

Pizzoccheri (Buckwheat pasta with cabbage, potatoes and lots of butter)

Pizzoccheri is a substantial, earthy buckwheat pasta dish from Valtellina, the northeast, mountainous part of Lombardy, near to the Swiss border. It is an earthy dish with lots of cheese and butter, with potatoes and savoy cabbage,  suitable for cold weather and big appetites – comfort food. Actually, there is also a lighter, more spring-like version of pizzoccheri, where cabbage is replaced by fagiolini, fine spring green beans. In other words, there is always a right time to enjoy this beautiful pasta dish. Continue reading