Simple and Slow Italian Summer Eats

First we eat, then we do everything else.     
M.F.K. Fisher


As I have emphasized before, in Italy, your day revolves around food. This is probably true for many other cultures, but I can only speak from my experience. These last weeks, which have turned into months, have been hot. Perhaps "hot" does not give justice to the climate that we have been living in. However, Italians know how to deal with this - and it certainly does not get in the way of your meals.
When it is summertime, meals become simpler. Simpler in the sense that there is less preparation, less time standing by the stove/oven, and certainly less complex recipes. No 14 ingredient salad dressing here today.
Instead, the summertime is when fresh, beautiful, simple produce is enjoyed. We are lucky enough to have the family vegetable garden (aka my father-in-laws garden that we help ourselves to). July, and now the beginning of August, has the kitchen full of sun-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini flowers, and basil bushes that are getting out of control.

So, today I wanted to share with you some extremely simple recipes that only need 2-3 ingredients. Each of them requires little to no cooking time. The important thing is that you go out and get the best, and I do mean the best, ingredients (even if only 2 or 3) for each recipe. That way, you can enjoy the simplicity and goodness of each one.

 

Buon Appetito!

Prosciutto e Melone

Ingredients

Thinly sliced, or shaved, prosciutto (preferably "crudo", you can also use parma ham if you cannot find prosciutto crudo)

Melon (cantaloupe, or musk melon, or any sweet melon)*

Flaked Sea Salt

Balsamic Glaze (optional)

*If you do not want melon, fresh figs are a wonderful alternative

How You Make It

Yes, this really only requires melon and prosciutto Crudo. But, the mix of flavours is literally mouthwatering. The melon should be sweet and cut into longs strips (about 1 inch thick or less, with no peel.

Take a piece of Crudo, and wrap it around the piece of melon. Repeat until all melon and prosciutto is finished. This can also be done with figs, halved, and wrap them up like a little parcel.

Sprinkle the salt flakes, and if you want, drizzle very sparingly the balsamic glaze (especially good with figs).

Enjoy!

 

Caprese Salad

Ingredients

Bufala or mozzarella 1-2 balls depending upon how many of you there are

Tomatoes again 1-2 (Beefsteak, Heirloom or any large juicey tomato you can find - even better home-grown!) The type used in Italy are called Cuore di bue

Fresh Basil (handful)

Flaked Sea Salt

Good Olive oil

Balsamic Vinegar or Glaze (optional)

 

How You Make It

I think most people have eaten a Caprese salad with the colours of Italy. It is so simple to make, but the creamier the mozzarella, the better!

Get a large plate. Slice your mozzarella and tomatoes to the same thickness (about 1 cm).

Clean the basil leaves, leaving them whole.

To assemble, place one piece of mozzarella, one tomato, one basil leaf. Then keep alternating them.

Sprinkle the salt flakes, and drizzle (excessively) with olive oil. If you want, drizzle balsamic vinegar or glaze.

This must must must be enjoyed with crusty bread to soak up all the goodness left on the plate at the end!

 

Finally for something sweet... Affogato

Ingredients

Good quality vanilla icecream

Coffee made fresh in a moka

Good quality Dark Chocolate

 

How You Make It

Finally, for something sweet, I present to you affogato. Literally meaning "drowned" it is coffee drenched ice cream with shaved chocolate on top.
Make yourself a moka of coffee. If you don't already own a moka, it is time you did. Please follow the link and trust me it is essential to have in your life.

Scoop your slightly softened ice cream into a bowl, or cup, or mug.... something with high sides

Pour the warm coffee over the top.

Shave with a potato peeler or grater some chocolate on top... you know when enough is enough!

Enjoy immediately, and possibly repeat.

 

By Lucy Bidgood - Lund

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