Savory

Peperoni Imbottiti

Not like typical stuffed peppers with a meat or rice filling, these are baked with a sprinkling of pine nuts and capers, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, and sprinkled with olive oil. They make a fine first course alongside other simple antipasti, or a great side dish with plain grilled or roasted meat or fish.

Peperoni Imbottiti

Salmorejo Cordobés

In the heart of Andalusia, where gazpacho also originated, Cordoba is home to gazpacho’s thicker ancestor, salmorejo. A simple mixture of tomatoes, seasonings, and moistened bread, salmorejo is usually garnished with chopped hard cooked egg, thin dice of Spanish Serrano ham, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Two Salad Pitas

Back when I was in high school, my friend Sandy and I would often grab a commuter train in New Jersey and head to Greenwich Village. We spent $3.00 on lunch at Amy’s on University Place, a vegetarian sandwich and salad shop where we always ordered a salad pita and helped ourselves to the added bonus: coolers of free spring water or mint tea. One of the pitas that follow is filled with a standard Greek salad mixture (like the one at Amy’s) while the other has a Turkish-style eggplant salad that I make all summer long.

Empanada Gallega - Vegetable And Tuna Pie From Galicia In Spain

Though we tend to think of an empanada as a kind of turnover, in Galicia, Spain, it’s a kind of pie made with a yeast dough enriched with olive oil. Fillings may vary, but this one of onions, bell peppers, olives, and tuna is a popular one.

SavoryNickComment

Cialedda - Bread and Tomato Salad from Apulia

Any tomato salad depends on one thing: perfectly ripe, height of summer tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes might be fine in a tossed salad during the winter, but just don’t have either the strength of flavor or the moisture for a salad like this. Like the famous Tuscan bread salad, panzanella, the bread here is moistened with a little water first. Letting the salad stand for an hour or so both develops the flavor and further moistens the bread, so it’s perfect to prepare in advance to serve to guests.

SavoryNickComment

Pa Amb Tomàquet - Catalan Grilled Bread Rubbed with Tomato

Food is central in Catalan life. Tapas bars and casual cafés serve pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) already assembled, but some restaurants merely deliver the components to the table: a piece of chewy bread grilled over a wood fire, a perfectly ripe tomato, fine salt, and local extra-virgin olive oil. Such a simple combination depends entirely on the quality of the ingredients—they have to be perfect. The instructions here are adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Paula Wolfert’s World of Food, with her permission. This is the perfect appetizer for a casual late summer meal. Eat with a knife and fork!

SavoryNickComment

Cialedda - Bread and Tomato Salad from Apulia

Any tomato salad depends on one thing: perfectly ripe, height of summer tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes might be fine in a tossed salad during the winter, but just don’t have either the strength of flavor or the moisture for a salad like this. Like the famous Tuscan bread salad, panzanella, the bread here is moistened with a little water first. Letting the salad stand for an hour or so both develops the flavor and further moistens the bread, so it’s perfect to prepare in advance to serve to guests.

SavoryNickComment

Pa Amb Tomàquet - Catalan Grilled Bread Rubbed with Tomato

Food is central in Catalan life. Tapas bars and casual cafés serve pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) already assembled, but some restaurants merely deliver the components to the table: a piece of chewy bread grilled over a wood fire, a perfectly ripe tomato, fine salt, and local extra-virgin olive oil. Such a simple combination depends entirely on the quality of the ingredients—they have to be perfect. The instructions here are adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Paula Wolfert’s World of Food, with her permission. This is the perfect appetizer for a casual late summer meal. Eat with a knife and fork!

Empanada Gallega - Vegetable And Tuna Pie From Galicia In Spain

Though we tend to think of an empanada as a kind of turnover, in Galicia, Spain, it’s a kind of pie made with a yeast dough enriched with olive oil. Fillings may vary, but this one of onions, bell peppers, olives, and tuna is a popular one.

Baked Ratatouille

This the easiest and the best way I know to make the summery Provençal vegetable stew.  All the vegetables go into an enameled iron Dutch oven at the same time along with some garlic, olive oil, and salt, and emerge from the oven 2 hours later perfectly cooked.

Peperoni Imbottiti - Ann Nurse’s Baked Stuffed Peppers

Not like typical stuffed peppers with a meat or rice filling, these are baked with a sprinkling of pine nuts and capers, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, and sprinkled with olive oil. They make a fine first course alongside other simple antipasti, or a great side dish with plain grilled or roasted meat or fish.

Peperoni Imbottiti - Ann Nurse’s Baked Stuffed Peppers

Salmorejo Cordobés - Cold Spanish Tomato and Bread Soup from Cordoba

In the heart of Andalusia, where gazpacho also originated, Cordoba is home to gazpacho’s thicker ancestor, salmorejo. A simple mixture of tomatoes, seasonings, and moistened bread, salmorejo is usually garnished with chopped hard cooked egg, thin dice of Spanish Serrano ham, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Muffuletta

If there’s such a thing as a world-class sandwich, this is it. A real muffuletta from Central Grocery is so good that it should be considered a crime to leave New Orleans without having one. The olive salad derives from the Sicilian tradition of marinating still slightly bitter newly brined olives in oil, vinegar, garlic, and other seasonings, including chopped celery, to sweeten and flavor them.

ITALIAN KALE PIE (TORTA DI CAVOLO NERO)

In Italy, where they make savory pies from almost every vegetable imaginable, kale is a popular choice, especially in Tuscany where it’s known as cavolo nero or black cabbage. Teamed up with pancetta, onion, garlic, ricotta, eggs, and grated pecorino, its slightly bitter flavor is complemented rather than hidden. This is a great solo dish or delicious accompaniment to plain grilled meat or fish.

Two Salad Pitas

Back when I was in high school, my friend Sandy and I would often grab a commuter train in New Jersey and head to Greenwich Village. We spent $3.00 on lunch at Amy’s on University Place, a vegetarian sandwich and salad shop where we always ordered a salad pita and helped ourselves to the added bonus: coolers of free spring water or mint tea. One of the pitas that follow is filled with a standard Greek salad mixture (like the one at Amy’s) while the other has a Turkish-style eggplant salad that I make all summer long.