Cannelloni au Brocciu et aux Epinards = Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach

Another great classic of Corsican cuisine, the cannelloni stuffed with brocciuand spinach make a healthy main course or starter, can be frozen, and are not difficult to prepare. It is an ideal dish for vegetarians but not for coeliacs, unless you are able to source some cannelloni tubes made without durum wheat semolina.

If it is not possible to find brocciu, replace it with ricotta cheese. As for the spinach, fresh leaves are better, but frozen ones will do nicely, too. You will just have to thaw them in advance before adding them to the onion, celery and brocciu mixture.

I have added some onion and a celery stick for extra flavour.

Serves 4:

  • 8 dry cannelloni tubes
  • 200g spinach leaves
  • 100g brocciu or ricotta
  • 1 medium sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery heart stick, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • sauce Béchamel to cover
  • 100g grated cheese, Cheddar or Emmental
  1. Gently fry the onion and celery in the olive oil. When golden, add the spinach.
  2. Put in a mixing bowl and add the brocciu. Mix well .
  3. Using a spreading knife, start filling the cannelloni tubes.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in an oven-proof dish, pour a layer of Béchamel over and start placing the cannelloni on top.
  5. Cover with a generous layer of Béchamel, add some grated cheese on top, cover with foil and place in the oven at 180C for 45 minutes.

Serve with a cool dry white wine.

If you use this dish as an accompaniment, it goes well with meat or fish.

Bon Appétit!

Note: If you can get Swiss chards, they replace the spinach and it is true to the traditional Corsican recipe.

Tip: It is important to have the cannelloni tubes resting on -and being covered with- a generous amount of sauce as the durum semolina needs to be well imbibed to cook.

* Find out more about brocciu here

Other recipe ideas using brocciu: Beignets de Brocciu (Ricotta Fritters)

Pain au Brocciu et au Figatellu (Brocciu and Figatellu Bread)

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Duo de Poissons Sauce Ciboulette = Duo of Fish in Chive Sauce

Some fish today to make a quick meal that will not tax the digestion as the main cooking method will be “en papillote” (in a foil parcel).

For contrasting colours and textures, I have chosen cod and salmon. To add taste, the sun-dried tomatoes and chives with be added to the sauce.

Serves 2:

  • 2 cod fillets
  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
  • fronds of a fennel bulb
  • 1 bunch of chives , finely chopped
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 125ml single cream
  • 2 tablespoon cornflour

 

  1. Place the fillets on foil in a baking tray, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, add the fennel fronds, tomatoes and drizzle with the tomato flavoured olive oil. Close the parcel and put in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the wine in a saucepan, heat up and add the cornflour gradually. Whisk to avoid the formation of lumps. When the sauce has thickened, add the cream and the chives. Turn off the heat.
  3. Take the fish out of the oven and place in an oven-proof dish, without the foil. Pour the sauce on top and cook in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately with steamed baby potatoes, creamed fennel bulbs or diced courgettes.

Bon Appétit!

Tip: 

If you are on a pre-Christmas diet, omit the sauce and drizzle the fish with olive oil and lemon juice just before serving.

 

 

 

Aubergine Fan = Eventail d’Aubergine

A fan to appeal to your eyes before your tastebuds. A different way to present aubergines, which is easy and quick. This can be a good accompaniment to meats or fish. It can be eaten on its own with a slice of warm country bread.

serves 2:

2 medium-sized aubergines

1 small tomato, sliced

2 slices of Mozarella

a pinch of Origano

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

 

  1. Remove the stalks and slice each aubergine fairly thinly as it will need to be tender when cooked, making sure that approximately 1cm remain intact at the bottom.
  2. Put each aubergine on a tray in a pre-heated oven at 200C and open the slices gently, sprinkling a little salt and pepper and Origano in the heart and placing a tomato slice near the top. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes, take out of the oven to add the Mozarella and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit !

 

 

Petit Rôti de Lapin = Small Rabbit Roast

Looking for a change and wanting some lean, white meat ?

Then, look for rabbit and veal. Some people don’t like it but for those of us who do like it, it makes a nice alternative to chicken.

The meat is firm and tasty and can be accommodated in a variety of ways. This time, I have chosen to stuff some saddle of rabbit with diced veal and prunes. This provides an extra tenderness without giving a sugary flavour to the meat. If you can find some pruneaux d’Agen ( prunes from the Agen region in Southwest France, not too far from Bordeaux), it is better as they are organic.

To make life easier, ask your butcher to de-bone the rabbit.

Serves 2:

  • 1 saddle of rabbit
  • 100g diced veal
  • 3 pruneaux d’Agen, stoned
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced in long strips
  • 1 slice of smoked back bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small glass strong red wine
  1. Prepare the stuffing : in a frying pan containing the oil, sweat the onion slices and then reserve, leaving the oil in the pan. Toss the veal for a few minutes and add the stoned prunes.
  2. Spread the rabbit meat on a plate and place the stuffing in the centre, then roll the meat tightly and use the bacon to close the parcel. At this stage, you can use a wooden toothpick to hold the meat together.
  3. Place the parcel in an oven-proof dish, cover with the wine and cook at 160C for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the toothpick, decorate with the onion strips and serve on a bed of petits pois.

Bon Appétit!

Tip: Depending on your appetite, this is sufficient for 2 people as the flesh is very firm, but you may wish to double the proportions.

Veau aux Olives = Veal with Olives

Rosé veal is now easily available and for this warm Winter dish, chunks of meat are easy to cook. This dish freezes well, so it is worth to make a little more.

The best veal is reared in Corsica, where the cattle roam freely and are fed natural produce. It is a genuine organic meat, tender and full of flavour.

Beef can replace the veal, if you cannot find veal- or do not like it.

Serves 4:

500g rosé veal, cut into chunks

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves , peeled and sliced

1 dozen green olives, preferably pitted

200 ml strong red wine

1 small tin of tomato purée, diluted with same amount of water

1 tablespoon corn flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

  1. Put the meat in a salad bowl and cover with the wine. Sprinkle a little pepper and salt (not too much salt as the olives are already salty). Leave in a cool place  for 1 hour but not in the fridge as it would harden the meat.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: in a frying pan, warm up the olive oil and gently cook the onion and garlic, add the diluted tomato purée and simmer.
  3. Add the meat and the olives and cover with the wine marinade. Simmer for 15 minutes and thicken the sauce with the cornflour, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Serve with pasta and a good red Burgundy or a good red Patrimonio from Corsica.

Bon Appétit!

Pain Perdu à la Tomate = De-Structured Pizza

Pain Perdu in French is a pudding similar to Spotted Dick and is a way to transform stale bread into something edible.
The alternative is to feed it to the ducks.

This time, the ducks will have to rely on someone else to provide their meal and yesterday’s baguette will become a savoury dish, using freshly made tomato sauce ( see previous post on Velouté de Tomate of 5 August 2014).

In Italy, this sauce is a passata, so called because it is put through a sieve to remove the seeds.

This de-structured pizza may not appeal to the genuine pizza lovers but it is easy to prepare and will be very tasty when you garnish it with parmesan shavings. You can, of course, add a few black olives, some anchovies and capers, depending on taste.
The texture will be very different from a traditional thin based, oven-baked pizza in that it will be soft – but it is worth trying.

If you do not want to make the tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, tinned ones will be fine, providing you simmer them for long enough or the sauce will be watery.

Serves 4:

1 baguette or 4 thick slices of country bread or any other bread
Parmesan shavings
Fresh basil leaves

For the sauce:
1kg fresh tomatoes, rinsed and quartered
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 garlic head, cloves peeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

1. Cut the bread in thick slices, toast it and rub it with peeled fresh garlic cloves.
Place it in a cooking pot containing the tomato sauce and simmer until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the bread.

2. Add a few leaves of fresh basil, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan shavings and serve immediately.

Bon Appétit!

Tip:
Try using chilli infused olive oil, sparingly if you do not like chillies too much.

Simple Red Onion Risotto

An easy and comforting dish which requires little preparation and is perfect for chilly evenings.
It originates in Northern Italy, in the Piedmont region, where the best rice for risotto is grown.

Serves 4:
300g risotto rice
1 big red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1litre vegetable stock
1 small glass dry white wine
Grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to season

1. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil in a cast iron pot until tender and add the rice, tossing it quickly until it is transparent.

2. Add the stock, a little at a time, until it is all absorbed, then add the wine until it is also absorbed.

3. Simmer for 20’minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

4. Add the parmesan, stir well and cover. Leave for 2 minutes and serve.

Bon Appétit!

Tip:
If you have some dried cèpes (Porcini mushrooms), prepare them and add them to the rice, having used their stock for cooking the rice.