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A Tasty Change!

Asparagus and Almond Salad with Chicken – Serves 6

I hope all of you are doing well and slowly going back to a normal life. The summer is approaching and the weather is getting even better. After this long period in lockdown and with the asparagus season in full swing this recipe for a healthy and tasty salad is the perfect idea for a delicious starter. You can choose how to cook the chicken breast either fried or grilled, I personally prefer it grilled bit healthier but fried is delicious too. I leave it to you to decide.

Ingredients
18 Asparagus spears (trimmed)
1 Handful whole almond(skinned)
6 Skinless boneless chicken breasts
Salt and Black pepper to taste
100gr of rocket salad
50ml of extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing
2 shallots, finely diced
4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 handfuls of chopped parsley
Salt and Black pepper
75ml of Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation
1. Place the asparagus in simmering water and cook for 5 minutes until the spears are just cooked, they must be a little “al dente” like we say in Italy so not too soft. Once cooked drain and set aside to cool down.
2. Meanwhile, place the almonds in a roasting pan, drizzle over a little of olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes till they are lightly golden. Set aside to cool down.
3. Now for the chicken breasts, I really like it grill so I usually cook them in a pan for 10-15 minutes till they are cooked through or if you prefer you can fry them. In case you want to fry them use 3 eggs, break them into a mixing bowl pass the chicken breasts inside and then prepare another mixing bowl with breadcrumbs and do the same. Fry them in oil or butter to achieve a lovely golden crust and a crispy texture.
4. Cut the asparagus spears into 3-4 cm pieces, slice the chicken breast diagonally into 4-5 pieces. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl and mixing well, adding the Olive oil at the end.
5. Carefully fold the chicken, asparagus and almonds into the dressing. Divide the salad between six plates and garnish each plate with a small handful of rocket salad leafs. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Cotes de Provence Rose (France)

Pan-Fried Salmon & Chorizo – Serves 4

When I was leaving in Spain, I learned to how to really enjoy chorizo and how to use it. In the beginning I was good only for a charcuterie board or sandwich, but working with some really skilled Spanish chefs I understood it can be used for so many combinations. This is the one of my favourites, combining the saltines of the chorizo and the delicate sweetness of the salmon. Adding some fresh tomato and basil to bring freshness to the dish. Please use the frying pan for all the recipe, don’t wash it this is really important.

Ingredients
4 Salmon filets (skin on)
300g of Spanish chorizo cut in to 12 slices
juice of 1 lemon
16 cherry tomato, halved
10 basil leaves
50ml Olive oil

Preparation
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat, add the chorizo slice and sauté on both side until coloured. Remove to a warm plate.
2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (remember not to wash the pan), once the oil is hot, add the salmon filets skin side down. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes and then turn and cook for 3 more minutes. Using this timing the salmon will be pink/rare inside, if you don’t like it rare just add 2 minutes for each side. Take the salmon out and take the pan off the heat, add the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice and stir to loosen the crunchy bits.
3. To serve place one salmon fillet in the middle of the plate, sit 3 chorizo slices on top of each filet. Place the halved tomatoes and basil leaves on top, drizzle each filet with the pan juice we prepared. If you noticed I didn’t put any salt in the recipe, this is because the chorizo is very salty so before you add any salt taste it first. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Chablis (France)

Burnt Sugar and Lemon Cake – Serves 6

This cake is not sweet, the burnt sugar and the lemon make it pleasantly bitter, if you serve it with fresh strawberry its pure heaven! Please try it you will not be disappointed.

Ingredients
300g Self raising flour
50g corn flour
100g Melted butter
120g sugar
4 capfuls of sherry or Marsala wine
250ml milk
Zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
60g of muscovado sugar

Preparation
1. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients, except the muscovado sugar, using a balloon whisk. It does not matter if there are a few small lumps it doesn’t have to be completely smooth.
2. Once the mix is ready put it in a cake tin once you have greased with some butter. The tin must be big enough to take the cake mix but not be more than two-thirds full or less than half full. I usually use a 12inch round cake tin.
3. The beauty of the muscovado sugar is that it forms lumps. Place the lumps evenly on top of the cake. Some of the lumps will be larger and some will crumble, it does not matter. They will melt and caramelize, forming a wonderful bitter-sweet contrast.
4. Bake it at 180c or mark 4 for about 30 minutes. Test by inserting a knife into the part that has risen the highest. If the knife come out clean it is cooked. If not pop it back for 5 minutes more.
5. Allow to cool in the tin until lukewarm before removing, You may find that some of the sugar has drizzled down the sides into the cake, fusing with the tin, so just cut around the edge of the cake before removing rather than risk breaking the cake. Serve with fresh strawberry!

Recommended Wine: Prosecco di Valdobbiadene (Italy)

Simone Conti

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