A Stunningly beautiful coast
It’s been quite a few years now since I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast, but I have fond memories of fabulous scenery, sunny days, and amazing food and wine. The air is rich with the scent of herbs and the scenery is breathtaking. I was transported back there recently, with the launch of a superb new cookbook, one that captures the very essence of this beautiful part of Southern Italy so well, you can almost smell those lemons and herbs when browsing through its pages! Ursula Ferrigno has taken the very best cuisine of this sun-drenched, magical coastline for CUCINA di AMALFI, a seductive collection of recipes. It was published last month by Ryland, Peters & Small at £20 for a lovely hardback, with great photography.
An acclaimed food writer and chef. Ursula Ferrigno trained at the Auguste Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts and has taught at leading cookery schools in both the UK and Italy, including Leith’s School of Food and Wine. She has made many appearances on BBC TV and is author of more than 18 cookery books.
Some Recipes to tempt you!
It really is a fabulous book, and these recipes below will surely tempt you to buy a copy in order to indulge in the full Amalfi experience!
VEAL SCALOPPINE WITH PARSLEY CAPER SAUCE Serves 6
SCALLOPINE AI CAPPERI
I totally understand why this is so enjoyed and is so incredibly popular throughout the Amalfi Coast; it is light on the digestion and quick to cook. I can remember my father coming home saying ‘andiamo a mangiare’ (let’s go and eat) – and it was this we ate. Veal is now ethically produced, so in short, this recipe is perfect.
12 wafer-thin veal scaloppine
(ask your butcher to prepare for you)
‘00’ flour, for dredging
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
3 tablespoons meat broth
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dredge the scaloppine in the flour.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy frying pan until foamy. Fry the scaloppine for 6 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the scallopine with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you continue cooking.
- Increase the heat to high and add the capers, parsley and some salt and pepper to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Pour in the broth and the vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Return the scallopine to the pan, turning, so that both sides are coated in the juices. Serve immediately with extra parsley to garnish.
SCALLOPS WITH LEMON, BAY LEAVES & ROSEMARY OIL – Serves 4
CAPESANTE CON LIMONE, ALLORO E OLIO DI ROSMARINO
This recipe is so simple that it hardly needs a method. It’s from the Naples area, where many of the best fish and shellfish recipes are to be found. Rosemary – used here as a skewer – grows in profusion all over Italy and enhances fish dishes wonderfully.
2 unwaxed lemons
12 fat, fresh scallops, coral removed (which can be frozen and kept for stock)
4 tough rosemary stalks, leaves removed and retained
12 fresh bay leaves
11/2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas 6.
- Pare the zest from the lemons and cut into 12 pieces.
- Thread 3 scallops onto each rosemary stalk, alternating with 3 pieces of lemon zest and 3 bay leaves.
- Pound the rosemary leaves and oil together in a mortar and pestle until fine, then pour this over the scallops. Squeeze over the lemon juice and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Place the rosemary and scallop skewers in a roasting tin and season well. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes until the scallops are no longer opaque and have a nutty brown coating
PEPPER BISCUITS Makes 35-40 biscuits
TARALLI CON IL PEPE
These are most commonly thought of as a special dried biscuit from Puglia but are equally enjoyed in Campania where there is a festival on 7 September to celebrate their importance. Serve as a snack with drinks or with soups and salads.
190 g Italian ‘00’ flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
11/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
7 g dried yeast
40 g unsalted butter,melted
2 tablespoons coarsely ground polenta
Heap the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add a pinch of salt, the pepper, yeast and butter. Stir with a fork, incorporating a little flour each time and adding water as necessary to form a ball. Knead for a good 10–15 minutes to achieve a smooth, soft dough.
Pinch off a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll into a 20-cm/8-in. length. Holding each end of the rope, twist the ends a few times in opposite directions to form a rolled cord. Seal the ends together to create a circle and place on a floured board. Continue with the rest of the dough. Cover the twists with a clean damp cloth and leave them to rise for 11/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Sprinkle 2 or 3 baking sheets with the polenta and place the twists on top. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and crisp. Leave to cool on wire racks.
Cucina di Amalfi by Ursula Ferrigno, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£20)
Photography by Nassima Rothacker © Ryland Peters & Small