Mar 31

Use a shallow pan and circular cookie cutters to make round, flat, poached eggs, perfect for elegant eggs florentine or a creative breakfast bruschetta.

Poach Eggs

1. Fill a wide, shallow pan with a 1⁄2 inch of water. Turn the heat to low and bring to a gentle simmer. Add a splash of white vinegar (this will help the eggs hold their shape).

2. Drop some round metal cookie cutters or tart rings into the pan. The ideal size is 4-inches in diameter.

3. Crack the eggs into individual small cups, pour them into the rings and cook for 2 minutes. The egg white may spread out underneath the ring’s edge.

4. Using tongs, gently remove the cookie cutters. Flip each egg over with a slotted spoon and cook for 1 more minute. Serve on toast over a slice of prosciutto or with steamed asparagus and Parmigiano.

Mar 24

An olive oil’s color is not an indicator of its quality. The color of olive oil depends on the type of olives used in the pressing and where they were grown. The color can range from a golden yellow to a bright or deep green. Each olive has its own flavor and color characteristics. The best way to learn and choose is to taste them all!

Flavored olive oils can be expensive, especially when they are only used sparingly. To save money, make your own, such as the sage oil below.

Sage oil

Sage Oil

4 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided
25 sage leaves

In a skillet over medium heat, warm half of the olive oil. Add the sage leaves, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the olive oil-sage leaf mixture to a glass jar with a lid, then add the remaining olive oil. Close the jar tightly and set aside for 2 to 3 days in a dark, cool place, occasionally shaking the mixture. Filter the oil, if desired, and transfer it to a cruet. Serve drizzled over fish, ravioli or vegetables. Makes 4 cups

Mar 17

Although Val d’Aosta is the smallest region in Italy, it is one of the most ethnically diverse. Bordering on France and Switzerland, Val d’Aosta (also called Valle d’Aosta) has incorporated French and German culture, language and food into its traditions. The region was once governed by France but became part of Italy in 1861, the same year that the Italian language was adopted. In addition to its French heritage, there is also a strong German presence in Val d’Aosta’s Gressoney Valley. The Walser community migrated to the area in the 12th century and left its mark on the language and food there. In fact, in this province, German, French and Italian are taught in the schools and spoken in most homes.

Below is a recipe from Val d’Aosta that uses Fontina, a protected aged soft cow’s milk cheese that is produced in the entire region.

Turkey Scaloppini with Prosciutto and Fontina--

Turkey Scaloppini with Prosciutto and Fontina

2 tablespoons butter
4 turkey scaloppini
salt and freshly ground pepper
flour for dredging
1 1⁄2 cups dry white wine
4 thin slices prosciutto cotto, or substitute cooked ham
4 thin slices Fontina

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Season the turkey breasts with salt and pepper, dredge them in flour and add to the skillet. Sear the turkey for 2 minutes on each side. Deglaze with the wine and allow it to evaporate. Remove the pan from the heat. Place one slice of prosciutto and one slice of Fontina on each turkey breast and arrange on a baking dish. Place in the oven until the cheese melts, about 6 to 10 minutes. Serve with roasted potatoes and a mixed salad. Serves 4

 wine pairingWine paring: Juicy medium-bodied red

  • This recipe was featured in the March-April 2011 issue of our e-magazine Cibo. To subscribe, please click here.
Mar 10

These little sugar doughnuts are eaten on Saint Joseph’s Day (Festa di San Giuseppe), March 19, which is also when Italy has its Father’s Day.

bigne' di S. Giuseppe

5 1⁄2 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1 1⁄4 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, plus extra
zest of 1 lemon, grated
4 eggs, beaten
olive oil for frying

In a pot, heat 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water with the butter and salt. When mixture boils, remove from heat, and add the flour. Stir well, and return to heat. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, remove from heat. Let cool, then stir in vanilla, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of confectioners’ sugar and the lemon zest. Add the beaten eggs, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Remove dough from the pot, place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Heat oil over moderate heat, and add tablespoonfuls of the dough a few at a time. As they start to swell, increase the heat. As soon as they turn golden, remove from oil. Let oil cool slightly, then start a new batch. When ready, pile them in a pyramid and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.  Serves 8 to 10

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