When the weather gets warmer, the last thing I want to do is sit down to a hot meal, let alone drag myself into the kitchen to cook. No, these things should be saved and relished for the Winter months. Summer weather calls for all things alfresco, and I can’t get enough of this Insalata Siciliana. Simply put, it’s a Sicilian Salad at its finest.
I was recently gifted the most exquisite cookbook by my husband. How bizarre I thought, upon receiving it, that Italy’s most illustrious fashion family have launched a cookbook?! I had no idea they were such big foodies as well as fashionistas. Talents know no bounds hey?
It’s a beautifully curated collection of Francesco Maccapani Missoni’s parents and grandparents recipes. They are all so remarkably easy to make, and what’s more, you will certainly materialise to your guests that you are honed in the art of effortless entertaining…with some extra panache thrown in for good measure.
There are many recipes in this book I cannot wait to try, but the one thing that caught my eye was this beautiful Sicilian Salad. The colours just make my heart sing, it’s almost too pretty to eat. This refreshing salad of olives, fennel and oranges is traditionally made with the slightly more bitter blood oranges grown in Sicily which I was able to obtain from Ocado. However, I used a mix of regular oranges and blood oranges. Use the best olive oil you can find also, it’ll make all the difference.
I can’t get enough of the “anisey” perfumed crunch of the fennel, the salty and spicy notes, then there’s the sweet burst from the citrus fruit. All are a divine deliciousness that I enjoy in no particular order, as long as they are present on the plate, served with a good measure of sunshine (just so I can pretend I’m actually in the Med), all is good in life.
The book is filled with food that gives you an unpretentious hug. Full of colour, full of familiarity, full of “Rocambolesco” recipes. It’s almost as if you are right there, eating with the Missoni family themselves! It’s a very personable book, a joy to look at and I just can’t put it down.
(Recipe for Sicilian Salad can be found at the end of this post)
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
- 2–3 pinches sea salt
- 1 generous handful Taggiasca olives, pitted
- 1 tsp. peperoncino flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Wash the fennel and chop off and discard the leaves and top branches, keeping the bulbs. Cut the bulbs in half widthwise, then into strands lengthwise.
- Place the orange segments in a bowl and squeeze the juice from the leftover orange membranes over them.
- In a salad bowl, layer the fennel strips with the oranges, seasoning them throughout with sea salt. Sprinkle the olives around the dish. Top with the peperoncino—and beware of the heat! Toss well. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.