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Posted 01/21/2015

Beets, Cucumber and Bottarga Salad

In Italy salad is one of those food items that makes it into your stomach just because “Mom has told you so!” You will rarely encounter a list of salads on our restaurant menus and in fact a handful of greens and a few chopped (or grated) carrots are all you can hope for to be served as a side dish to your steak or “rosticciana” ribs. Tuscans favor sautéed greens, roasted potatoes or vegetable stews like “Peperonata” to accompany their proteins.

Then I met Deb, and moved to Los Angeles where “People really eat salad before pasta???” The whole notion of considering salad as a stand alone dish still quite does not resonate with me, but as you can see I am adapting and making progress. However, don’t u dare ask me for salad to start your meal, you will rub me the wrong way! Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/13/2015

Smoked Trout Salad with Horseradish and Caper Vinaigrette

Growing up I ate smoked fish only once a year, at Christmas. My father is a doctor and I remember observing the piles of bottles and smoked salmon accumulating under the Christmas tree. Then my mom would have us binge on Tagliolini with Salmon for almost two weeks straight… I tried to complain a few times about the fact that “Babbo” would re-gift all the pork that was arriving to the house from his patients. I will never forget the first time a whole Prosciutto entered our house, “There is Hope in this World!” I told myself. That same evening the Prosciutto left the house and never came back. I know who my dad gave it to, and I still believe “that guy” owns me one. Continue Reading…

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Posted 06/28/2014

Porcini Carpaccio

Porcini mushrooms are truly a gift of nature, and a blessing for anybody with a passion for food. Leonardo Da Vinci is quoted saying that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”; nothing could be more true about this wonderful ingredient.

The following recipe for the carpaccio is extremely quick and easy, and in its incredible simplicity will deliver the pure flavor of the Earth to your palate.

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Posted 05/13/2014

Octopus Salad

Octopus is one of those ingredients that’s present in the Mediterranean diet wherever you go. In Italy, during the summer, it’s really easy to find octopus salads or pasta with red octopus sauce. They’re really hard to catch because of the camouflage, but I remember catching them with a spear when I was a kid. I like the animal. It’s very smart and it tastes good. All you need here is a glass of dry white wine and a slice of toasted bread!

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Posted 09/18/2012

Orange, Red Onion and Fennel Salad

More of a Sicilian in origin, this is a wonderful Summer salad to prepare when you can find blood red oranges. Fresh, citrusy, refreshing and nourishing, this is always a crowd pleaser and the presentation is off the hook thanks to all of the vibrant colors. Serve with a grilled piece of fish or to counter a piece of meat.

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Posted 08/09/2012

Chopped Hearts of Romaine with Salsa Verde

To be honest, Italians don’t care about salad. It is usually seved as a side and never, ever ordered instead of pasta or steak like they do here in the states. This salad is an easy way to make something typically boring more appetizing. My mom used to badger me to eat my salad when I was younger. I needed my vegetables, you know the drill. When I grew up, her nagging stayed with me and I came up with a tasty salad that I actually enjoy eating. This is fresh and has a wonderful taste.

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Posted 02/29/2012

Breasaola, Peach and Fennel Salad

When you grow up in Italy you eat salad for one reason and one reason only, because your mother makes you! Our regional cuisine thrives on seasonal produce and we do have an incredible amount of vegetable side dishes that are served always paired with you main course. If you happen to sit down at a restaurant you can easily notice that no menu will ever have a “Salad Section”… if you want one you just have to ask your waiter for it. Continue Reading…

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Posted 03/09/2011

Caprese di Farro

Farro salad is a stable of any given Italian Summer; its freshness and lightness are perfect for a pic-nic or an evening appetizer, especially and if you happen to have a vegetable garden where to pick fresh Tomatoes and Basil.

There is much confusion or disagreement about what exactly farro is. Emmerspelt, and einkorn are called farro in Italy, sometimes, but not always, distinguished as farro medio, farro grande, and farro piccolo, respectively. Regional differences in what is grown locally and eaten as farro, as well as similarities between the three grains, may explain the confusion. Barley and farro may be used interchangeably because of their similar characteristics. Spelt is much more commonly grown in Germany and Switzerland and, though called dinkel there, is eaten and used in much the same way, and might therefore be considered farro. Common wheat may also be prepared and eaten much like farro, in which form it is often referred to as wheatberries. Continue Reading…

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Posted 03/04/2011

Farro Salad, special episode from the SoBe WFF in Miami

When I started posting videos on Youtube a few years ago I never thought it could have brought me this far… I just got back from a very intense three-days-food-marathon in Miami, where Debi and I attended the South Beach Wine and Food Festival for the very first time; it was the Oscars of Food, and everybody was there! It was a non stop kermess of flavors and laughs, attendance was at its best, and the perfect weather created the optimal conditions for the festival to unfold; Parties on the Beach, Burger Bashes, Cooking Demos and so much more.

I Was Scared!

As a professional musician I never feared the stage or the spotlight, and with Debi on my side I usually feel pretty confident about myself, no matter what. This time though it felt different; I had to talk, I had to explain, I had to entertain and involve my audience in a way I’ve never done before… using food instead of my drums. Also my bosses were there, you know I kind of like my new job, and really would like to keep it for the years to come; the pressure was on. Continue Reading…

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Posted 07/12/2010

Butter Lettuce, Mache and Pomegranate Seeds Dressed with Champagne Vinaigrette

In Italy, salad is eaten just because your mama told you so. We absolutely don’t care about salads. However living now in California, trying to stay healthy and making the best of the constant fresh produce we have because of the wonderful weather, Debi and I have worked salads a little more into our life. If you go to a restaurant in Italy and ask for a salad, they’ll just bring you some lettuce and shaved carrots and that’s it. In America, the sensibility and approach to salads is very different and I’m learning to enjoy it.

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