Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Italian Plate of Joy

I tramped through my orchard, across a field, down a little road, and onto the main drag of my little town here to go buy some produce at my favorite fruit and vegetable guy, who unfortunately, is in a location with little parking (to this American. Italians pull right up onto the sidewalk and triple park in the road. I can't bring myself to do it.) If I want to shop from him, I need to hike it. He's my favorite because he always smiles when he sees me, and seems pleasantly amused by my butchery of his language. He also doesn't complain if I pay with a larger bill. I mean like a 20. I've had other fruit stands turn me away when I try to pay with a 20, or even a 10. He's never given me attitude. Also, when I say, "Come si dice.....?" and point, he tells me what things are called. Not to mention that his fruit is always delicious. I've never felt like he's trying to pull one over on me. It's worth the hike.

While I was at it, I stopped off at the salumeria and picked up prosciutto, fresh ricotta, and two balls of mozzarella di bufala. When I got back to my house, I found a pile of honey-sweet white figs that one of my neighbors (aka The Fruit Fairy) had left on my patio table for us.

I flipped through Meatless and saw that I'd be able to throw Zucchini "Pasta" with Tomatoes and Walnuts (pg 32) together without any trouble. Halve cherry tomatoes, and let them marinate for twenty minutes in olive oil, sliced garlic, chopped walnuts, and torn basil. (As a side note, Italians, and, apparently, Martha Stewart, are adamant that you must never take a knife to your basil, because you will bruise it. I'm unconvinced that it makes a difference, taste-wise, yet I find myself only tearing basil these days. If the Italians do it, that's a good enough reason for me).

After twenty minutes, mix in long skinny strips of zucchini. The picture in the book shows the zucchini looking like spaghetti. I must not have gone thin enough for that. Mine weren't bendy. Regardless, this salad was delicious. I was afraid the raw garlic would be too aggressive, but after it soaked with the rest of the ingredients, the flavor was evenly disbursed, and I never thought "Wow, that was a mouthful of raw garlic."
I should eat like this every day.
This lunch made me extremely happy. The only thing missing was a cold glass of Prosecco.

Conclusion: Loved it. The simple preparation made each ingredient taste even more like itself, if that makes sense.


  1. With proscuitto and mozzarella di bufala plus figs, that has got to be the
    most delicious lunch going. It looks so delicious. Have a happy weekend.

  2. This looks so amazing, I wish we did eat like this everyday. I can never figure out why we don't...Prosecco would be a great addition to this healthy fresh meal!

  3. Holy moly - this all looks and sounds amazing. I am so happy for you to be having those incredible Italian adventures !! And I am with you about not being able to triple park...forget the "when in Rome" concept. If it doesn't feel right- find a way to do it that meets your own comfort level. Now how do I get a fruit fairy outside of Philly ? Oh,yes, I have Nana who often delivers ffwd ingredients (and results :) to me in little tupperwares. So no complaining from this side of the Atlantic.....

  4. What a gorgeous plate of deliciousness! Beautifully done!

  5. I just opened up your blog to check this week's FFwD and ended up reading back over your past few months worth of posts. Looks like you've been eating well and I so hear you about turning on the oven in the middle of summer. It's not nearly as hot up here as I assume it must be in Italy and even I couldn't fathom using the oven until just this past week when the temps finally fell a bit.

    As for your Italian Plate of Joy, it looks delicious. Sometimes my favorite meals are cobbled together from the Italian deli and they are almost always delicious. I'm excited to see that the figs are starting to come into season, hopefully they will start appearing in my market soon.