European Holidays – The Culinary Art of Squeezing Tomatoes

Our European Destination Specialist Jackie Slaughter loves nothing more than discovering other cultures, so she couldn’t wait to get involved in a Sicilian cookery class at the Verdura Resort in Sicily this summer. She joined local chef Gianluca and a handful of other guests to prepare a delicious lunch.  The dishes were crafted under Gianluca’s watchful eye, using fresh local ingredients. To bring the taste of Sicily into your own home this chilly autumn , see the recipes below.

Insalate di Fagiolini e Gamberoni Rossi (Prawn Salad) 

Mazara Prawn Salad

Jackie’s Mazara Prawn starter

Ingredients
6 gambero rosso di mazara prawns
3 oranges
200 grams green beans
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method
– Prepare 1 orange by slicing off the top and bottom, peel of the skin and pull apart the segments
– Boil the beans for 4 minutes and split them open
– Now take the remaining 2 oranges and reduce the juice of these oranges in a saucepan over a medium heat (until it coats the back of a spoon).
– Remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil
– Boil the prawns for 10 seconds then plate it up – start with the beans, then orange, prawns and  the sauce.

Jackie“It was startling the amount of extra virgin olive oil that was used in the salad. The bright green oil is produced on the estate, which also provided us with fresh organic ingredients for our recipes – it all tasted so amazing.”

Maccheroncino alla Norma (traditional Sicilian pasta dish)

Maccheroncino alla Norma

Jackie’s Maccheroncino alla Norma

Ingredients
100 grams Maccheroncino pasta
200 grams red tomatoes
100 grams aubergine
Half a garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Basil and thyme
Unrefined sea salt
Sugar
10 grams butter
5 grams parmigiano
Ricotta salata

Method
– Dice the aubergine into large cubes and place in a bowl, now cover them lightly with olive oil
– Add the basil and thyme and season with salt and pepper – marinate for 10 minutes
– Sautee the aubergine until a hazelnut colour – you may need to do in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the non-stick pan
– Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds and remove – now peel them and remove seeds
– Crush the remaining tomato with your hands
– To a large pan add oil, garlic (with skin on), basil and thyme – then cover with the tomatoes, sugar and salt and cook for 10 minutes
– In another pan boil the pasta until al dente and add to the tomato mixture, add a little cooking water (from pasta) and cook for 1 minute
– Now add the aubergine as well as butter and parmigiano and stir, then remove from heat
– Add more basil and thyme and oil and toss the salad – now finish with crumbles of ricotta salata.

Jackie“ The plump peeled Sicilian tomatoes were squeezed with our bare hands for this dish, as in Gianluca’s kitchen cutting tomatoes is a definite no-no. He believes that gently squeezing the fruit instead  brings out the very best flavour. It was a bit messy but really enjoyable!”

Kid's cookery lessons at Verdura

Cookery lessons are also available for children

If Jackie’s experience has whetted your appetite to have a culinary enthused European holiday she’d be happy to tell you more about it and to talk through the options. Contact her on +44 (0) 1242 787808.

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