Thursday, June 22, 2017

Amazing Appetizer, Chef Pasquale Palamaro, Ristorante Indaco, Ischia (Na)

It was a steamy Saturday evening in Ischia. To be more precise -Ristorante Indaco, Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of the 5 star Luxury hotel Hotel Regina Isabella located in Lacco Ameno. 
Chef Pasquale Palamaro served me a soup as part of his tasting menu that evening.  A soup! 

A soup, which for the chef, was inspired by a dish that his mother often prepared for him, his 2 brothers and 1 sister when he was a child.  His mom would take advantage of any leftover mozzarella or fior di latte and prepare a meal by adding tomatoes and basil.

Palamaro took this memory a step further – he gave it a gourmet touch.  Fresh basil leaves were placed in a ceramic dish.  Then ,table side,, our server added tepid water- not for show, but to release the spectacular summer aromas that only a basilica napoletano can give.

Afterwards, a simple tomato soup with mozzarella, shrimp joined us at the table for an experience rich in flavors, aroma, and memories.

As I took my last spoonful, I couldn’t help but think about a memory from my childhood.  A tomato soup that my mom served with grilled cheese sandwiches and crackers.

Grazie, chef!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Dinners 2017, Ristorante Indaco, Lacco Ameno, Ischia (Na)

Chef Pasquale Palamaro and Chef Roberto Petza

Friday night, June 16th, Chef Pasquale Palamaro, Ristorante Indaco, Hotel Regina Isabella's Michelin starred restaurant, kicked off the  Summer Dinners 2017  The Cuisine of the Islands series.  Chef Palamaro invited fellow Michelin starred chef Roberto Petza of S'Apposentu in Sardegna.

Here's a look at how the evening went beginning with the appetizers -

Impressioni ed emozioni/ Impressions and emotions. (Palamaro and Petza)


 Fried soft shelled crab and tartar. (Palamaro)


Oyster, onion and sea lettuce. (Petza)

First Course

Fregola soup with gifts from the garden, basil and citrus scents (Petza)

Main Course

A thousand colors for a turbot fish in a savory  English cream sauce (Palamaro)

Pre dessert

Amaro Dolce/ Bittersweet (Palamaro)


A stroll through the garden...(Petza)

A great way to jump start a spectacular summer!

Here's the lineup for the rest of the series:

 7/20 - Salvatore la Ragione - Ristorante Mamma' - Capri 
9/01 - Massimo Larosa - Restaurant it - Ibiza 
10/14/ - Martina Caruso - Hotel Signum - Elisa Salina

The series is sponsored by 
Tenuta Masone Mannu
Accademia Olearia Alghero
Gerardo Di Nola

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fantastic Firsts, Chef Salvatore La Ragione, Ristorante Mamma' Capri (Na)

Chef Salvatore La Ragione
Finally!  An exclamation made by Chef Salvatore La Ragione and myself.
Finally, we both expressed since the chef and I have known each other for a few years, but I have never ever visited him here, at the Michelin starred Ristorante Mamma' tucked away in a tiny little alley near Capri's most busiest piazza.
Here, at a table with an amazing view and a light gentle breeze.
It was a perfect opportunity, then, for the chef and I to make up for lost time.  La Ragione sent out four primi piatti, pasta dishes,  for me to try.
Take a look!

Gnochetti al profumo di limone con vongole e broccoli..

Potato dumplings, lemon, clams and broccoli greens....

Delicate and profumatissimo!!!

Then, the chef's vermicilli ai ricci del mare...

Vermicelli pasta and sea urchins.

And then, a dish that I tried for the first time  a year ago during Festa a Vico- Risotto matecato aglio e olio...

Mussel scented rice, extra virgin olive oil and garlic.  I notice this time that the chef added a couple of almonds for a crunchy touch.

Have room for one more?  The chef asked.

He was really surprised that I hadn't tried this Chef Gennaro Esposito classic -minestra di pasta mista con crostacei e pesci di scoglio.

Mixed pasta and seafood...


Monday, June 12, 2017

Fantastic First, Chef Enzo David, Divina Ischia, Sant' Angelo, Ischia (Na)

Location- on the beach in one of the most in spots in Ischia.  The end of an exclusive boardwalk in Sant' Angelo, Ischia,  Divina Ischia, the piccolo posto run by a young spectacular spirit interested in promoting their part of the isola and beyond.

A recent lunch prepared by Chef Enzo David included this fantastic first starring a combination of unexpected ingredients- anchovies and cauliflower.

Cauliflower - a protagonist in my childhood nightmares due to lack of creativity in the use of this blase' veggie.  David prepared a creamy sauce.....

adding tasty salty anchovies....

for a first that is, well....


Friday, June 9, 2017

Festa a Vico 2017, Lo Scugnizzo Islandese, 12 Morsi (Na)

Festa a Vico 2017 - Notte delle Stelle, aka, night of the stars. Night of the Michelin starred chefs who set up their stands on the marina of Seiano for this fantastic fundraising event.  But Notte delle Stelle isn't jut reserved for Michelin starred chefs.  Chef Gennaro Esposito, brainchild of the three day event, recognized the importance of simple street food produced by those who know it best.  Those like 12 Morsi -one of the burger kings in Naples.

I've been a follower  of 12 Morsi for a long time, and I've always been amazed at the pics I've seen on Facebook- so I was curious to try few bites, morsi  of anything they were pitching that evening.

Like lo Scugnizzo Islandese. During an event such as Festa a Vico, it is not easy to play the blogger role.  Sure, I managed to get a sandwich and snap a couple of pics, but it was several days late that I sent out a message to the amici of 12 Morsi so that I could get a grip of what this panino was all about.

Here's the reply...

Lo Scugnizzo Islandese è nato dalla collaborazione tra 12 Morsi e Baccalaria. I due cuochi hanno ideato questa ricetta molto particolare per avvicinare le persone al Baccalà, spesso definito come un prodotto molto povero, ma che invece cucinato in certi modi, può dare origine a dei piatti davvero indimenticabili.

Nel nostro caso abbiamo deciso di friggere il baccalà in una pastella al Zafferano, aggiungendoci una julienne di zucchine alla scapece e la mentuccia per dare una fresca sensazione. Poi c'è la stracciata di bufala, la crema di zucchine e la maionese all'aglio di nostra produzione.

The Icelandic Scugnizzo came to life through  the collaboration between 12 Morsi and Baccalaria. The two chefs have devised this particular recipe to bring people closer to  baccala, salt cod, often referred to as a very poor product, but cooked  if in certain  ways, can produce  really unforgettable dishes.

In our case, we decided to fry the cod in a saffron batter  , adding a julienne of marinated zucchini and t mint to give it a fresh feeling. Then there is the addition of stracciata di bufala cheese, creamy zucchini  and  tour own garlic  mayonnaise.


Festa a Vico 2017, Amazing Appetizers, Marco Merola, Hackert (Ce)

Sunday evening Vico Equense.  The first evening of the 15th edition of Festa a Vico. Over 130 chefs, pizzaioli, bakers, and butchers lined the streets and storefronts of this small little town on the Sorrento Peninsula.  It was there that I had the opportunity to meet new people and try new dishes like this appetizer by Chef Marco Merola of Hackert in Caserta.
The chef brought a seafood salad, fresh and flavorful for a steamy hot evening. Here's a closer look at his Festa di Mare...

Shrimp, mussels, octopus and then some seasoned with lemon, coriander, and a refreshing sprinkle of aromatic Timut pepper.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Festa a Vico 2017- Mission Accomplished!

Three days of fun, food and fantastic chefs participated in the 15th edition of Festa a Vico.  THE party with a purpose held 4-6 June to raise money for charity. Record attendance and a record for funds raised - 215,000 euro!!!  Sure, soon on the blog I'll share some of the dishes that I had the chance to try but it's great to hear, that once again, mission accomplished!
Save the date for next year -  3 to 5 June 2018!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pollo Picnic - Don Alfonso 1890, Sant' Agata Sui DUe Golfi, (Na)

It has become a tradition – one that began 6 years ago.  A spring visit to the 2 starred Michelin Restaurant, Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’Agata Sui Due Golfi to get a taste of what the new season has to offer.  A look at what Chef Ernesto Iaccarino has been working on over the last few months.  First stop, the kitchen to say hello to the chef, his brigade and have a quick chat.  A chat that included the journey at the table that Iaccarino had in mind for me that afternoon.

Karen, do you like chicken?  Organic chicken?  Do you think that you can eat an entire roasted one?

I looked at Iaccarino, smiled, and thought –A chicken challenge? Bring it on!


 I headed quickly to my table for my little private pollo  picnic that included –

Sauces prepared with Senise peppers (hot and spicy included)

One of the best mashed potatoes I have ever tasted!  Creamy smooth and seasoned with saffron.

A side salad featuring ingredients from the family farm in Punta Campanella.

And of course, that crunchy chicken that I had seen earlier in the kitchen.  Iaccarino’s organic chicken is served in two separate serving platters.

 First up, the chicken breast accompanied by a vinegar reduction sauce.

While I was picnicking on this plate, the chicken thighs and legs were in the under the broiler for a few minutes to complete their cooking time.

Then they also made their trip to my table.

After lunch, I spoke with the chef about my love affair with chicken.  Ever since I was a little girl chicken has been one of my favorite foods.  I could eat it every day.  Make sure you buy organic, Karen.  Iaccarino advised me.  It’s important. It may not be easy, but ask your butcher.

Or, maybe I could come back?  I thought with a smile.