Back in May, my mother and I took a very short Mother-and-Daughter trip that saw us exploring the northern part of Lazio, the one borders with both Tuscany and Umbria. This part of Central Italy goes by the name of Etruria (harking back to the Etruscans) as well as Tuscia. It is for those who like the road less travelled and is full of surprises and charm. We had lunch at a little place very close to the town of Capodimonte, on Lake Bolsena. The major nearest town to take pride of Provincial note is Viterbo.
That’s Capodimonte there on the right … And here was our restaurant, called Pepenero.And here is my mother a few minutes after we sat down (please note no water or wine or even bread on the table yet).
Anyway … since it was a hot day and I was going to be driving, I knew that I would want to eat something fairly light and was very intrigued and delighted by an entry that called for the addition of squid to the traditional bread-based dish called ‘panzanella’.
This is what it looked like immediately it was presented before me. And this is what it looked like after I had mixed things up a bit. Very appetising indeed. I decided I would have to try and replicate the same dish at home.
It’s good to have a few new entries in the ‘antipasti’ file. And so, on one of my whim-inspired antipasti cooking evenings, I decided to also fry some fresh garlic. Fry it in batter. That’s shoyu sauce in the middle of the fried garlic and fried courgette plate. I had added a little bit of rice vinegar to it too. Very nice indeed. But let me stick to the squid panzanella story.
Boil the squid for the briefest of time in salted water (about 2-3 minutes). Drain and cool the squid down in running cold water or iced water until it reaches room temperature. Slice the squid. Then place the sliced squid in a bowl. Coat the squid with some top notch olive oil, season and, if you like, maybe add some basil. Set aside. Play lego with a tomato and try and create cubes of an even size. Sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
This is a little bit of onion that was left to soak in a bowl of vinegar and ice. Vinegar helps to take the sting out of the tart onion and will allow you to talk to close ones without being rebuked for your bad breath. A red onion would have been better but I didn’t have one at the time. Toast some bread … the best way you know how. I happened to think the griddle pan was the bees’ knees way to do it that day. Cut the toasted bread into cubes. I thought that a pair of scissors would do the trick for me in the most cunning of ways, tee hee hee.
And now … it was time to plate up.
First the toasted bread and the tomatoes. Then the onion and the squid. And finally some torn basil leaves. A good drizzle of olive oil, a sneak peek of salt and white pepper .. .and forget about the ghastly basil leaf in ithe middle. Too ugly for words and I don’t know why I left it there.
But it did taste very very nice indeed, very very nice. Try it, it’s easy. Most delicious!