It is time to harvest nettles here in NorCal, and the first thing I make with them each year is a lurid green nettle pesto to put on pasta or mix into rice or spread on bread.
Some days you remember forever. This tuna fishing trip was one of them. I spent a couple days, 40 miles off North Carolina, in search of tuna. We found them. Oh yes, people, we found them… and with the trimmings of those great fish, I made these Sicilian meatballs.
Called strangolapreti — “priest stranglers” — in Italian, these dumplings made with breadcrumbs, cheese and a green thing (spinach, amaranth, chard, etc) are easy to make and are a great vegetarian main course or side dish for something meatier.
Yellowfin tuna grilled rare and served over a Sicilian-style salad of tomatoes, olives, onions and herbs. What’s not to love?
This is about as springtime as it gets. Fresh garden peas, served with light-as-air gnocchi made with pea puree, tied together with a little butter and cheese. Just a lovely light supper.
Fennel salami, finocchiona, is an Italian staple. There are lots of variations on this salami, but they all require a decent addition of fennel seeds. My version has wild fennel seeds, fennel pollen and ouzo.
Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and this is a recipe for a spicy, hunter’s style salami you can carry around with you in the field. I make them with narrower hog casings so they’re easier to make than traditional wide salami. Use pork, venison or boar.
Spring is in full swing here in California, and it’s not far off in the rest of the country. This recipe brings together several of my favorite spring ingredients: Rabbit, morel mushrooms and nettles, all in a lovely, Italian-inspired dish.