A Virtual Visit to Amalfi – It’s been quite a few years now since I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast, but I have fond memories of fabulous scenery, sunny days, and amazing food and wine. The air is rich with the scent of herbs and the scenery is breathtaking. I was transported back there recently, with the launch of a superb new cookbook, one that captures the very essence of this beautiful part of Southern Italy so well, you can almost smell those lemons and herbs when browsing through its pages! Ursula Ferrigno has taken the very best cuisine of this sun-drenched, magical coastline for CUCINA di AMALFI, a seductive collection of recipes, published last month by Ryland, Peters & Small at £20 for a lovely hardback, with great photography.
An acclaimed food writer and chef. Ursula Ferrigno trained at the Auguste Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts and has taught at leading cookery schools in both the UK and Italy, including Leith’s School of Food and Wine. She has made many appearances on BBC TV and is the author of more than 18 cookery books.
It really is a fabulous book, and these recipes below will surely tempt you to buy a copy to indulge in the full Amalfi experience!
Scallops with Lemon, Bay Leaves & Rosemary Oil – serves 4
Capesante con Limone, Alloro e Olio di Rosmarino
This recipe is so simple that it hardly needs a method. It’s from the Naples area, where many of the best fish and shellfish recipes are to be found. Rosemary – used here as a skewer – grows in profusion all over Italy and enhances fish dishes wonderfully.
2 unwaxed lemons
12 fat, fresh scallops, coral removed (which can be frozen and kept for stock)
4 tough rosemary stalks, leaves removed and retained
12 fresh bay leaves
11/2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Pare the zest from the lemons and cut it into 12 pieces.
Thread 3 scallops onto each rosemary stalk, alternating with 3 pieces of lemon zest and 3 bay leaves.
Pound the rosemary leaves and oil together in a mortar and pestle until fine, then pour this over the scallops. Squeeze over the lemon juice and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
Place the rosemary and scallop skewers in a roasting tin and season well. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes until the scallops are no longer opaque and have a nutty brown coating.
Spaghetti with Lemon & Cream
Spaghetti al Limone – Serves 6
This is an iconic dish from the Amalfi coast, with at least a thousand different variations – in essence though, just 5 ingredients and only 15 minutes to prepare.
grated zest of 3 lemons
90 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Boil the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water (only salt the water when the water starts to boil) and cook until al dente. This will very much depend on personal preference, so taste as you are cooking and stop when the pasta is cooked to your liking.
Drain the pasta, reserving 240 ml of the cooking water. Add the cream, lemon juice, zest and butter and mix very well indeed. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to slacken the sauce if needed. Season to taste and enjoy straightaway.