Antipasti

Antipasti

By
Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi
Contains
9 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742705545
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

As I stood on the beach in Praiano I was blown away by the range of colours around me, turquoise sea swam into azure sky, dazzling pink bougainvillea flowers decorated the old white church and bright yellow lemons seemed to glow in the light.

Antipasti literally means ‘before the meal’. On the Amalfi Coast antipasti are presented as little plates of locally produced salami and cured meats eaten with olives, toasted almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, crocchè di patate (potato croquettes) and marinated anchovies. Also popular is smoked cheese, such as scamorza or provola, pressed between large lemon leaves and grilled until so . Italians never stray too far away from bread: either focaccia or slices of salted pizza bread drizzled with local olive oil are served alongside antipasti. Alternatively you might be served pizzette, mini pizzas that are first fried then finished under the grill with mozzarella and basil.

Alici

Anchovies

Cetara is an unspoilt fishing village and home to shoals of shiny silver anchovies. Known as alici or acchuighe, they are the reason for the town’s wealth and heritage. While the anchovies are often eaten fresh, Cetara is famous for colatura di alici – the juice that is collected from the anchovies while they are stored and pressed in salt. It has become the delicacy of the town and is served in every restaurant over hot spaghetti or linguine, usually mixed with garlic, chilli, olive oil and parsley.

The anchovies for colatura can only be caught between 25th March and 22nd July, when the shoals are plentiful. Pasquale Ferrara, a local boat-builder who has a passion for making colatura in wooden barrels, learnt the technique from the old fishermen and believes the real thing to be far superior to the shop-bought variety. If fresh anchovies are hard to come by, replace them with other small oily fish, such as fresh sprats.

Alici ripiene

Stuffed anchovies

Many Amalfitani restaurants, such as the beautiful garden restaurant appropriately named Il Giardiniello in the town of Minori, defy the Italian tradition by serving anchovies stuffed with cheese. Two marinated fillets are pressed each side of a slice of provola cheese then breadcrumbed and fried. Served as a hot antipasto they are mouthwateringly good.

Recipes in this Chapter

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