But today, I decided that I had a duty to post something. And I was inspired by a glorious 2-hour foraging hike I took today. I summited two huge hills and got to my new favorite place on the estate, which has 360 degree views of the estate. It's heavenly. I sat up there and thanked God for this glorious place, which is becoming dearer to me every day. Two beautiful moths and a bumblebee flitted around me as I took it all in.
I was writing a blog post for the film about Carnevale (Carnival; Italian Mardi Gras) on the island of Pantelleria (south of Sicily, almost to Africa) and I remembered this fabulous dish I had there, made especially for me because of my gluten intolerance (pictured below). It was a fish stew with rice and sautéed fresh vegetables. I yearned to recreate it, even though I was missing the fish. This was my recreation attempt, using the ingredients I collected today:
served with Steamed Broccolini and Purple Cauliflower
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 a red onion
1 red bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of pre-made tomato sauce (we make our own here, but store bought will do)
1.5 cups water
1 cup of brown rice
Juice of half a blood orange
3 small anchovies (or a tad bit of anchovy paste)
A large handful of wild fennel (hard to find in the US; dill is similar)
2 cups wild (or cultivated) swiss chard
Fresh broccolini and fresh cauliflower (or whatever vegetables are fresh)
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add the bell pepper and sauté until tender. Finally add the garlic for 30 seconds, so you won't burn it. Quickly add the tomato sauce, and stir for a minute. Then add the water, rice, blood orange juice, and the anchovies. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30-50 minutes (depending on your rice). Stir occasionally and make sure the bottom of the pan isn't sticking. Add more liquid if necessary (water, wine, or tomato sauce). When the rice is tender, add the chard and the fennel and cook for a few minutes more, stirring constantly.
While the stew is cooking, steam the broccolini and cauliflower until just tender.
Serve together or separately, and sprinkle everything with fresh parmesan or ricotta salata cheese.
Buon appetito from Sicily!