Sardinian cuisine – what do we know about it? The first thing that comes to our minds when we think of it is sardines 🙂
A friend of mine, Sardinia-born chef Marco Serra yesterday was giving a seminar on traditional foods of his motherland. It was so interesting and tasty! I sampled so many foods and wines that I still feel full 🙂
I’m going to tell you what I learned yesterday!
So, what determines Sardinian cuisine is HEAT. In summer, temperature can reach 45C, that makes it almost impossible to spend a lot time on cooking 🙂 And this is exactly why simple and quick (10-15 min) foods and cold snacks prevail in Sardinian cuisine.
The second factor is the insularity. Everything that isn’t manufactured there, should be imported, which is pretty expensive. So, all dishes there are based on local seasonal foods, like fennel, olives, oranges, lemons, sheep cheese, lamb, fish and sea foods.
Let’s have a look on the traditional Sardinian foods that Marco showed us how to make.
Fennel & Orange Salad with Sea Urchin Cream Sauce
Just like on Sicily, the orange and fennel is a wonderful salad base on Sardinia. We thinly sliced the fresh fennel, cut the orange in cubes (in 1:1 ratio fennel to orange), seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil, and left to marinate for 15 min. Then we dressed the salad with a very piquant dressing – sea urchin cream sauce (sea urchin caviar+olive oil, blended), that gave the salad a very strong sea taste and fragrant. Very extraordinary and Mediterranean-ish!
Fregola – Traditional Sardinian Pasta with Seafood
Fregola is an amazing type of pasta from Sardinia. It is formed into 2-3 mm in diameter balls and toasted in an oven, which is why it’s a different, nutty taste. It is usually simmered in water for about 8 min. Both cooked-though and al dente fregola can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 weeks without getting soggy. Fregola is also a popular ingredient for cold snacks.
The most tradinional variation of making fregola is with seafood.
Ingredient (3 — 4 portions):
250-300 g fregola (half-cooked)
500 g seafood
100 g cherry tomatoes
approx. 500 ml fish stock
2 cloves of garlic
In a large skillet, heat some olive oil. Add the finely chopped garlic and sauté for 30 sec. Add the seafood (any mix – mussels, clams, shrimps, squids, octopus etc.), cover and cook for a few min until clams or mussels are opened. Add half-cooked fregola and cover with fish stock. Combine and cook uncovered, occsionally stirring, until fregola is done and almost all the liquid is evaporated. You should end up with a risotto-like consistency. Add the cherry tomatoes a few min before finishing cooking.
Сolossal Shrimps and Swordfish Steaks Oven-/Pan-cooked in Breadcrumbs with Fresh Topping
We cooked the shrimps and swordfish steaks in breadcrumbs in two ways – in an oven and skillet. The formed is more convenient 🙂
Leave the shrimp unpeeled, cut them lengthwise to devein. Cut the steaks into 1 cm thick pieces. Coat the shrimp and steaks in the breadcrumb mixture.
Preheat the oven to 175-180C. Arrange the shim and steaks in the baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 min.
While they’re baking, let’s prepare a topping:
Cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Combine all the ingredient and leave to let the tomatoes release some juices.
Transfer the shrimp/fish to a serving plate and top with the topping. Let stand for some time to let vegetable juices impregnate the shrimp/fish. Serve.
Marco told that that this process of fish being impregnated with vegetables juices is a very traditional one for Sardinia. For example, his mom would place grilled fish before serving to a bowl of warm water, olive oil, herbs, tomatoes and olives. That resulted in fish melting in the mouth after. It’s pretty hard for me to imagine that, but Marco obviously loved that dish.
Seada is a traditional Sardinian dessert. This is a deep-fried dumpling, or ravioli, with a filling of a young Pecorino primosale cheese. Seada is served topped with warm honey.
Marco shared a classic recipe for Seadas and a simple one that you can easily and quickly prepare at home and serve with tea.
500 g flour
50-70 g lard
1 cup warm water
In a bowl, combine the ingredients together until you get soft and elastic dough. Wrap in plastic and let stand at room temperature for 30 min.
500 g Pecorino primosale (young)
70 ml water
zest of 1 lemon
Coarsely grate the cheese and transfer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add water and melt over gentle heat for 8-10 min, stirring. When melted, add lemon zest. Pour over a cutting board and spread out with a spatula to form a 5 mm thick layer. Let cool, then cut out rounds, 9 cm in diameter each.
Divide the dough into halves and roll out each one (use a pasta maker, if available). Place one round of cheese in the center of a one rough of dough, top with another round of dough. Press the edges well.
Deep-fry the seadas in a fair amount of hot oil (170C) until golden.
Serve hot, top with warm honey.
2 blocks of ready-made shortcrust party
250 g ricotta cheese
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp sugar
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
Shape seadas as described in the classic recipe. Bake at 220C for 15 min.
Heat some honey and combine with orange zest. Top the seadas with the honey-zest mixture before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
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