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Posts Tagged ‘Polpo’

We’re pretty sure we saw somewhere that Polpo, a cookbook by Russell Norman, has just turned ten years old which inspired us to get it out and cook something. We served these, at Russell’s suggestion, with some home-made focaccia but pasta would be good too. It’s an excellent tomato sauce to use for other purposes too.

Wine Suggestion: Given the Italian inspiration to this dish we had to open something to match. The cherry and berry flavours in Pico Maccario’s Barbera Tre Roveri really sing alongside the anise-fennel flavours and the wild herb, leather and truffle flavours lend a base note to the whole dish. Bravo!

Spicy pork & fennel polpette – serves 6

  • 1.5kg pork mince
  • 3 medium eggs (we only had large, all was well)
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • a large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 20g fennel seeds, lightly toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
  • ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ tbsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • a small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

Make the tomato sauce first, up to a few days in advance if you like.

Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli flakes for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and continue to cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, bring to a gentle bubble and simmer over a low heat for 1 hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped oregano. Now taste and season if it needs a litle sweetness (we find it usually does). Blitz with a stick blender until smooth and you can also pass through a fine sieve if you would like it more passata textured (we don’t tend to bother).

Now make the meatballs. Heat the oven to 220C/Gas 8.

Put the pork mince, eggs, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix together well with your hands. Roll in 45g balls and place on a greased baking tray, then roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Meanwhile, bring your tomato sauce up to a gentl simmer. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and poach for 10 minutes. Serve with some lightly toasted focaccia or pasta or whatever else you fancy.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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A simple idea to serve with drinks, something sparkly perhaps.

Wine Suggestion: a great match for any sparkling wine made with the Champenois method, double fermented in the bottle, and with some autolytic, yeasty, bready aromas that help give the structure for the food. Tonight a 100% Pinot Meunier from Laurent Lequart in the Vallée de la Marne, Champagne.

Smoked salmon, ricotta & dill wraps – makes 16

  • 300g soft ricotta
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (use a zester if you have one rather than a grater)
  • a handful of dill, chopped, plus a bit extra to serve
  • 16 thin slices of smoked salmon

Mix the ricotta, lemon zest and dill together in a bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Put 1 tsp of the ricotta mixture onto each slice of salmon and roll up, then skewer with a cocktail stick.

Arrange on a plaste and garnish with extra dill. Squeeze over some fresh lemon juice just before serving.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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Do we need to provide another recipe for Italian roast potatoes with rosemary? Probably not, but this version uses regular potatoes, rather than the baby waxy variety. So perhaps it will come in handy, as it did for us. 

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary – serves 4 to 6

  • 2kg potatoes e.g. Maris Piper or Roosters
  • a large handful of rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt and black pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks, then boil in salted water until just cooked through. Drain in a colander and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly and lose some mixture. 

Preheat the oven to 220C/220C Fan/Gas 7.

Heat a roasting tray in the oven with most of the rosemary leaves and a good few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Remove the tray from the oven and add the potatoes, turning to coat well in the oil and rosemary .

Roast for about 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so. 

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.)

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This handy Italian chicken dish is great for a Friday night and kids love it! Serve with a green salad, lemon wedges and mayonnaise. If you have eggs leftover you can pop them in the fridge to scramble the next morning.

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple with an easy, dry white of your choice: Chardonnay, Verdicchio, Chenin … or tonights choice the Flying Solo Grenache Blanc – Viognier blend from Domaine Gayda. Easy, friendly citrus and apple flavours with hints of heather and a slight nuttiness, finishing clean and dry.

Chicken Cotoletta – serves 4

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways with your knife parallel to the board to give 4 thin fillets (your butcher will do this for you if you ask)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 handful of Italian 00 flour
  • 3 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • about 300g panko breadcrumbs

Put each piece of chicken between sheets of clingfilm, then beat them gently with a rolling pin until nice and thin. Season and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Get 3 plates out and put the flour on one, the eggs on the next, and finally the breadcrumbs. Dip the chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess, then gently into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan with plenty of olive oil and fry the chicken until golden and crispy, a couple of minutes on each side. You can do this in batches if easier.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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A proper Venetian cichéti or wine bar snack. If you haven’t grilled fennel before we strongly suggest that you do, it becomes all caramelised and the flavour is much stronger. Here two strong flavours come together to great effect. Serve as a nibble with drinks.

Wine Suggestion: we didn’t have have any dry Venetian whites to hand but from further south in the Marches we had a bottle of Sartarelli’s Verdicchio Classico. Crisp, with hints of bitter, green almonds and pure peach and apple flavours and a saline twist that seemed to echo the anchovies. We were almost sitting in a bacaro overlooking a canal.

Grilled fennel with White Anchovies

  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced through the root into medium-thin pieces about 5mm thick
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • a handful of roughly chopped dill
  • 10 white anchovy fillets

Preheat the grill to medium.

Put the fennel slices onto a baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Add half the dill and toss to coat, then put the baking tray under the grill for 10-15 minutes, turning once, or until starting to brown and caramelise at the edges. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Spread the fennel over a platter and place an anchovy fillet on each slice, then scatter over the rest of the dill and serve.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.)

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Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce

This is a great tomato sauce and of course can be made without meatballs and used in all sorts of things. We like to make the entire recipe and freeze the leftover meatballs in the sauce for tasty meals for kids or when we don’t have time to cook. They’re good served with linguine –  toss the pasta with the meatballs and sauce before serving with some grated Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: with the higher proportion of pork in the meatballs we think a medium bodied red works better than richer, fuller-bodied wines with this. We went with a Chateau Manoir du Gravoux from Castillon in Bordeaux. A Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend with a lovely freshness and pure, mineral character made a good match.

Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce – makes about 40 meatballs and 1.5 litres of sauce

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • small pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

FOR THE POLPETTE:

  • 1kg minced pork
  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 medium eggs
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • cooked linguine pasta and grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat half the oil in a saucepan on a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a very low heat for an hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the oregano. Season with a little sugar if needed, then whizz using a hand-blender or food processor for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix together well with your hands, then roll into golf ball sized meatballs. They should weigh about 45g each. Place on a large greased baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Add the meatballs to the hot sauce and poach for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with linguine and grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Smoked Salmon, Horseradish & Dill Crostini

Do try this. It looks like regular smoked salmon crostini but the balance of ingredients is perfect, including the rather generous portion of salmon per toast. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on either quantity or quality!

Wine Suggestion: excellent with sparkling – your choice of Crémant, Champagne, or your local version. Just make sure that it a fresh, more acidic style … Prosecco need not apply as it doesn’t have enough zing for this. Tonight the Soalheiro Espumante, a sparkling made from alvarinho in northern Portugal and wonderfully citrus, vibrant and refreshing.

Smoked salmon, horseradish & dill crostini – makes 20 crostini

  • 250g crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • about 3 tbsp freshly grated horseradish
  • pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 French stick, cut into discs and lightly toasted
  • 500g thinly sliced top quality smoked salmon
  • 20 dill sprigs
  • lemon juice

Make the horseradish cream by mixing together the crème fraîche, mustard and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if it tastes tart.

Put a generous slice of salmon in each piece of toast and top with a spoonful of horseradish cream. Decorate with a sprig of dill. Add a few drops of lemon juice and some black pepper before serving.

(Original recipe from Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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Chickpea fennel & leek soup

We recently bought a copy of the Venetian cookbook, Polpo, by Russell Norman – it’s about 7 years since it was published and we’ve been coveting it ever since. This soup doesn’t sound exciting but it’s absolutely delicious and will fill even the hungriest of bellies (perhaps with some bread).

Chickpea, leek  & fennel soup – serves 6 to 8

  • 500g dried chickpeas
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, cut into 1cm pieces

Cover the chickpeas in water and soak overnight. Drain and put into a heavy-based pan with the chicken stock. The stock needs to cover the chickpeas by about 3 cm. Add the dried chilli and cook until tender (start checking after the first 30 minutes but they could take an hour).

Heat a little olive oil in another heavy pan and sweat the shallots, leeks and fennel until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the chickpeas and stock with the sweated vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove about a quarter of the veg and chickpeas and set aside (we forgot to do this!). Blend the remainder until smooth. Return the reserved veg and chickpeas to the pan and season to taste. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil.

(Original recipe from Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

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