From Sicily, with love

In addition to the frequent requests I get for culinary tips and secrets, when people learn I am in chef school I commonly get asked whether I have a particular specialty or area of interest. My program isn’t designed for that – the point is to learn to cook consistently and understand a little bit of historical and regional context, but then where you go from there is up to you. Though I did enjoy momentarily convincing one of my coworkers that my major in culinary school is “picnics.”

I also use to defray that particular question because until recently, I couldn’t really define a preference. Now that I’m two thirds through, I do have some ideas. I find that I get really excited about the recipes when we are working with mediterranean ingredients – olives and citrus specifically. (Usually not it the same dish but often in complementary dishes.) Our most recent lesson on Sicily sealed the deal. We cook 6 or 7 different dishes daily, and it is rare that I really enjoy all of them. So there. If you want to know my favorite cuisine to cook, I suppose “mediterranean” now wins. Whether or not that determines where I do my externship or what direction I’m heading is still up for grabs, but flavor wise, yes.

Eggplant caponata with fancy olive care of a paring knife

Wine-braised chicken with olives

Eggplant fritters with yogurt sauce

Fennel and orange salad

Sicilian tip for better pesto: take your typical pesto recipe, substitute almonds for the pine nuts (cheaper anyhow, and more texture), and add a handful of sundried tomatoes into the blender with it all. I like pesto usually, but I loved this pesto.

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1 Response to From Sicily, with love

  1. mk says:

    yum! it all looks delicious! i hate that my husband doesn’t eat olives. that chicken looks so good! i love fennel. love it raw. love love love it. it is a little hot for some of those dishes, but i’ll take the caponata and the fennel salad for lunch this afternoon. No problem!

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