Sharpening Your Taste Buds

This is one of the most famous recipes from Tuscany, perfect for this season with all the vegetables coming into season. Today you will find the Ribolitta in many upmarket London restaurants, but it is a classic peasant dish straight from the renaissance time. The mix of seasonal vegetables, cannellini beans and farmhouse bread is just deliciously healthy. The drizzle of extra virgin olive oil will add that bit of sharpness to the dish.

Ribollita – Serves 6

200ml olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, 1 chopped
100g white onions, roughly chopped
300g carrots, roughly chopped
300g celery, roughly chopped
400g courgettes, roughly chopped
300g Savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
300g Black kale, roughly chopped
200g spinach, chopped
500g potatoes, roughly chopped
100g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
800g cooked cannellini beans 2x400g can
1lt of vegetable stock
1 white farmhouse loaf
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated pecorino cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in large pan and add the chopped garlic and onions. Cook gently until the onions are soft. Add carrots and celery, and season. Cook over a low heat for further 15 minutes until the vegetables start to turn golden, stirring occasionally.
2. Once the vegetables are ready add the courgettes, Savoy cabbage, black kale and spinach. Leave to sweat for about 10 minutes, then add the potatoes and tomatoes. Mash half of the cannellini beans and stir into the pan. Cook gently for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the stock and simmer, covered for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add the remaining cannellini beans. Cut the bread into slices and toast them. Rub each slice with the whole garlic clove and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
4. Place a layer of toast in the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish and pour over some of the soup. Repeat until all the toast and soup have been used. Let the soup stand for a while before serving.
5. Serve in warms bowls, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and scattered with Pecorino. Enjoy!

Suggested Wine: Chianti Classico (Italy)

Turbot on the bone – Serves 6

Turbot is one of my favourite fish to cook and eat. This recipe is an easy one so there’s no excuse not to try it out. Turbot is a healthy fish packed with healthy fats, proteins and Omega 3. The texture is very meaty and there are no small bones.

1x 3kg Turbot
1 dried chilli
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
75g capers
2 red peppers
salt as needed
olive oil, as needed
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
To serve:
250g Swiss, cleaned, stalks removed and blanched in salted water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160c, cut off the turbot wings and remove the head. Cut down the centre bone so you have 2 halves, cutting horizontally through the bone into 180-200g steaks.
2. Cut the peppers into quarters and remove any seeds. Cover the surface of the peppers with a dash of olive oil, season with salt, garlic and the oregano. Cook on a wire rack for approximately 30mins at 160c.
3. Season the steaks with the chilli and fennel seeds, and seal in a hot pan on the flesh side, then turn over and add the parsley and cappers.
4. Cook in the oven for about 10mins on 200c. After the turbot has cooked, let it rest for at least 3 mins before serving.
5. Serve on the Swiss chard with peppers on the side, Tuck in!

Suggested Wine: Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)

Lemon and Nutmeg Brule – Serves 4

This recipe is from a dear friend, Miss Lisa Brown, a very talented pastry chef, who makes the most delicious cakes. This is a special recipe for Cranleigh Mag readers.

2 Lemons
500ml full fat milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
4 medium egg yolk
115g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

1. Pare strips off lemons and put it in a pan with milk, cinnamon and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Bring just to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10mins.
2. In a heatproof bowl whisk together egg yolks and half the sugar until foamy, stir in cornflour. Strain the milk over the egg mix, stirring constantly.
3. Return to pan and cook over gentle heat, stirring until thickened and smooth.
4. Simmer gently for 5mins, pour mix into 4 shallow flameproof dishes. Allow to cool, chill for at least 4 hours.
5. Sprinkle with sugar and place under hot grill or if you got one, use a blow torch. Ready to serve!

Suggested Wine: Prosecco (Italy)

Simone Conti

Enjoying these recipes? You can read more of Simone’s meals HERE.

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