Like many parts of Italy food is an important part of life in Sardinia, more a way of life than a necessary act of consumption. Meal times are a coming together of family and friends to share in the spoils of home grown vegetables or the fresh fish catch of the day. The sharing and pride of fresh quality produce makes for a great part of what food is about in Sardinia. It is often that my father in law, Mario, a builder by trade, is paid by proud farmers with hand reared suckling pig or baby lamb and the occasional flagon of home made wine.
It is with this concept of sharing that I bring you this blend of Sardinian recipes and insights into the produce of one of the last naturally organic producing places in the world. Make no mistake all of these dishes come to you from the kitchens of real Nonnas, Mamas and Zias (grandmas, mums and aunties) There are no old family secrets here, let us share! Let us eat!
on the menu
Love for food is an extension of our love for sharing in others experiences. One evening in a famous restaurant I will leave unnamed I found myself in the fortunate position of being sat at a table with the head chef and his staff whilst they prepared for an evenings service. One of the least senior of chefs was recalling a dish of veal, aubergine and pecorino that his mother used to make for him back home in Sicily. The head chefs turned to him and said “get yourself in the kitchen and make it for us, if it’s any good we can stick it on the menu” . Of course the chef trundled off into the kitchen, the dish was great ( I was fortunate enough to try some) and it found itself onto the menu the very next day.
I, like many others love food so if you know of any other Sardinian based recipes that you would like to find on this menu then feel free to drop me a line
Serves 4 – 6
1.5 kg of mixed fish (octopus, squid, eel, dog-fish(palombo), monk fish e.t.c)
300g of tomato ‘passata’
5 sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
One and a half onions
Half a carrot
Half a stick of celery
A bunch of parsley
Vernaccia di Oristano (or another dry white wine)
Extra virgin olive oil
You can use whatever fish you like for this dish but try to get an even balance of shellfish and fish. Clean all of the fish as is necessary cutting larger fish into chunks so as all of the pieces are all of roughly the same sort of size.
Place any fish heads fins e.t.c that you removed in a pan with about 2.5l of slightly salty water, half a carrot, half an onion, half a stick of celery and some olive oil. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Filter the stock through a sieve and keep warm. (Alternatively you can buy some pre made fish or vegetable stock.)
Finely chop the other onion, the garlic, the sun dried tomatoes and a handful of parsley and lightly fry in a terracotta casserole (or large pan) with 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the squid and octopus to the pan with a little salt and a glass of white wine and cook over a high heat until all of the wine has evaporated. Now add the tomato passata with a ladle of the fish stock and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add the rest of the fish and another ladle of fish stock, lower the heat and cook for another 15 minutes adding more stock if necessary. When cooked the sauce should be quite dense. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.