Eating Our Way Across Italy, Part II

Buongiorno from the Keeper Team!

While planning our trip to Italy, one of our best decisions was to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel in Monopoli so that we had our own kitchen to cook in. Besides, even after two days, our clothes were starting to feel tighter (only an itsy bit) from the richness and quantity of food from eating out (not to mention the thinning of our wallets). With all of this in mind, the Keeper Team was excited to hit up the local market for fresh fish and vegetables.

Our goal was to use the freshest Italian ingredients to create a local variation of a recipe by Chef David Bull of Congress Austin, along with some food creations of our own.

So we spent the day in Monopoli meandering through the colorful market. We got up early and decided to let the ingredients be our inspiration for our menu. As we spent time in the marketplace, we had a hard time formulating which dishes to include on our menu because EVERYTHING looked so enticing. The choices of grains and rices and spices (oh my!) were abundant.

As we approached the vegetables, I swear, the squash blossoms whispered “eat me!” Although we tried to control ourselves, we ended up getting enough food to last us two days!

Although we didn’t look it, we felt like an authentic Italian family while whipping up our meal. We combined Fresh Baccalà that the local fisherman had caught that day, with Cucumber Mignonette and Charred Tomatoes.

Not to toot our own horn, but we were more than satisfied with the outcome of our day’s work. The freshness of the ingredients really added something special to the dishes. Here’s our home made Italian dinner! Yummmm!


Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Fresh Ricotta

To start our homemade meal, we devoured the delicious squash blossoms from the the market. This was a simple dish that everyone loved! Here comes the second course…


Seared Bacala with Cucumber Mignonette & Charred Tomatoes

This local variation of Chef Bull's Cucumber Mignonette was refreshing and a perfect complement to the Baccalà. To make the mignonette, we combined shallots, brunoised cucumber, champagne vinegar, minced parsley, and black pepper in a bowl. To finish it off we seasoned with salt.


Orecchiette with Fresh Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Langoustines

To round out our meal, we enjoyed this yummy Orecchiette dish. The combination of fresh veggies, sea food, and homemade pasta made this dish a triple threat.

After finishing dinner, our appetites had been fulfilled and we were content. What better way to explore Italian food than to try it on your own? This was such a fun night and we ended up cooking on our own multiple times throughout our 2 week trip. Look for more Italian food adventures to come!