LET'S GO FOR A WALK IN THE GARDEN
I watch and I wait. I wait and I watch so much that even the most imperceptible change is detected. Suddenly a tiny green leaf makes its way through the earth and sprouts right before my eyes. Radishes, beets, chard, onions, cabbage, many edible flowers are gathered in one big white pot on top of my kitchen counter. Each day they get stronger, taller, wider and what was barely a handful of seeds has become a mini vegetable garden. It's almost a pity to take it away from that spot where I would pay my daily visit with nature and its beauty. No matter how you see it, la vita è bella, life is beautiful.
In our backyard we have a small space where we grow our vegetables and at the far end, in a corner of that space, is a shake, a wretched wooden shake that barely holds together. A few years ago while we were preparing the garden for the season my son stopped what he was doing, grabbed a bucket of white paint and brushed these words on its door.
Facta non Verba.
Yes, there's lots of hard work to maintain a vegetable garden, especially if your life is a busy one that doesn't allow too much time for things you love to do most. But, if you have a passion nothing stops you. There's no, I'll do it tomorrow, I don't have the time. It's done because you love it. Actions speak louder than words. I think this sums up the sentiment well enough.
...and then there's another aspect. There's a tastier take on food, if not only for the fact, that you've grown your own.
So this is what I've been up to lately. From garden to table.
This first dish, is a Bass fillet with radish cream. The recipe comes from Chef Cannavacciolo, if you don't know who he is, click on his Facebook page here. Picture a giant robust man, with huge hands that are the most delicate I've ever seen. In simple clean moves he puts together a dish that is out of this world. I saw him making this dish on TV and on that same day, I went out, bought some fresh fish, and made our lunch in just a blink of an eye. Of course, I had plenty of radishes so I used the best, they come from my garden.
Bass Fillet with Radish Cream
1 bass fish, filleted - divided in 4 pieces.
250 gr Plain white organic yogurt
EVO (extra virgin oil)
maldon salt to garnish
To make the cream, peel the red of the radishes and blend with yogurt until smooth. Add a couple of tbsp of EVO and salt to taste. Mix by hand with a spoon.
Place the radish cream in each serving dish.
Pan cook the fillet fish by rubbing some EVO on both sides of the fillet. Preheat a non stick pan and place the fish skin side down, press the fish fillet with two finger for just 3 seconds, let it cook for 7 more seconds and flip it over delicately so that the skin doesn't remain on the surface of the pan. Cook for another 10 seconds until the fish is cooked through but remains moist.
Place the fish on the cream radish, garnish with a radish, a drizzle of EVO and some maldon salt.
2 small spring onions, sliced finely
1 tbsp apple vinegar
3 tbsp EVO
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt to season
Mix all ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes so flavours amalgamate. Dress your salad just before serving.
4 tbsp of EVO
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets
Rinse the anchovies from the salt and remove the fillets from the fishbone. Finely slice the anchovies, place them in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Help yourself with a fork to dissolve the anchovies with the juice. Add the oil and let stand for 15 minutes. Place the dressing-dip in a bowl and serve next to any fresh raw vegetables you have available.
*Your vegetables would be more crunchy if you let them sit in some ice and water for just a few minutes before serving.
Red Chard Bruschetta
Red Chard (or Radish greens)
2 garlic cloves
Rinse clean the chard leaves. Preheat a pan, add 2 tbsp EVO and 1 whole garlic clove. Allow the garlic to golden and remove it from the pan. Add a couple of handfuls of chard leaves to the pan and allow the leaves to cook for about 15 minutes until they are tender. Add some salt to taste.
Toast some bread slices, preferably on the barbecue so they get a smoked flavour. Lightly rub the bread with the garlic and place the pan fried chard on top. Scoop up some liquids that are in the pan and drizzle over the bruschetta.