il estate italiano (italian summer)

it’s a friday night! although the heat has mitigated a bit in the late august, the humidity is still there in tokyo. on the way back from work, i stopped at a grocery store and found a pack of super fresh sardine, intended for the use as sashimi. i could’ve done a japanese dish with it, but no, had to improvise something which goes very well with ice cold white wine.

today’s menu is very summery. starting with il prosciuto e melone (parma ham and melon), i spaghettini alla puttanesca (with the fresh sardine – grilled in the japanese gas grill) as a main dish, and on the side, la insalata del estate (an improvisation with celery, lettuce, tuna fish and boiled egg, in french vinegriette). all of the dishes are quite refreshing, with some summer ingredient(s), and perfect marriage with il vino bianco secco.

my trick for the puttanesca sauce is to have a perfect balance of garlic, hot chili pepper, olives, capers, anchovies and salt. it cannot be too salty or too blunt. the proportion tonight was not too bad, which was roughly:

3 table spoons of olive oil (extra virgin of course),
1 hot chili pepper (sliced),
1 clove of garlic (smashed),
16 olives (halved),
2 table spoons of capers,
4 filets of anchovies,
salt & pepper to taste (only if necessary, especially the salt)
and 40 cherry tomatos

that’s about it.

the salad i made was inspired by the “goya” salad which we once had at an asian fusion restaurant in our neighbourhood called “tahiti“. goya is extremely bitter squash which is often eaten in okinawa, the southern island of japan. tonight, i didn’t have the goya, but instead used celery which can be quite bitter. the taste tranquilizer is the hard boiled egg. after mixing all the ingredients, all i have to do is to sprinkle the grated boiled egg on top of it. it is both visually and tastefully appealing!

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