October 10, 2010

Suitcases and Sausages

May I have your attention please? Nonna has arrived. With frozen sausages, ricotta, homemade cannoli shells and oregano all packed in her suitcase (I’m serious); she has been flown in to cook for that annual party I’ve told you about. More importantly, she’s here to spend some quality family time with the Kostecki’s.

Yesterday we bundled her up against the crisp autumn weather, and despite the small craft warning we put her into the boat and we all enjoyed the New England coastline.  The afternoon ended with steamers and lobsters in celebration of my dad’s birthday.

Today Tom and I spent the afternoon preparing our little apartment for Nonna’s inspection. I even ironed the linens. Honestly that was more for my mom’s benefit than Nonna’s- last time my mom came to visit and my tablecloth was wrinkled she got out my iron and did it herself. 

And there won’t be time for ironing during this visit. I have to bring Nonna to my neighborhood farmer’s market so that she can have a word with my veal guy and taste the cheese stand’s homemade ricotta to see if I have finally found ricotta in Massachusetts that warrants Nonna’s approval. There’s a reason she gets on a plane with frozen ricotta and sausages from Detroit.  They’re just better there. 

So, I bet you think that I’m now going to give you a recipe for Italian sausages right? Sorry. This week I had such success roaming the farmer’s market in search for the leafiest, greenest vegetables available that I just have to share with you a different family favorite: Fried cauliflower.  

I don’t think too many people are used to eating cauliflower this way, but I strongly encourage you to try it.  If you get a really leafy one such as the one seen above you could try sautéing the greens with some olive oil and garlic and serving them over penne with Parmesan cheese and hot pepper flakes. That’s what my Grandma Chinni would do.

Fried Cauliflower

I never realized how significant cauliflower is to the Italian diet. Throughout my childhood my mom would make this dish during the fall and winter seasons but I always just assumed it was a random recipe that she had stumbled upon. Come to find out that this in fact a Nonna recipe and that cauliflower is a prominent player in Italian cuisine.

1 head of cauliflower cut into into florets
Corn oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Par-boil the cauliflower florets until just fork tender. Maybe five minutes.

Heat up the corn oil so it covers the surface of your non-stick pan.

Salt and pepper your flour. Douse the par-boiled cauliflower with the flour.

Gently place in the pan and fry until golden and crisp. Sprinkle with kosher salt and enjoy!

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