Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Picking and Choosing!

Stuzzichini Siciliani di Piadina, Zucchine, Pomodori Secche, Menta e Fontina
Sicilian Piadina Rolls with Zucchini, Mint, Sun-Dried Tomato & Fontina

Oh to be back in Sicily, in busy Palermo or dreamy Modica, where the cocktails are served along with "stuzzichini", or little snacks like these. Simple but delicious, these little baked wrap sandwiches, made from piadina bread are a perfect accompaniment to an evening drink, working up an appetite for more delicious Italian food!

But back in the real world, on a regular weekday night, they make for a satisfying suppertime treat and are ready in next to no time... which is great, because that way you don't need to wait too long to enjoy that early evening drink ;-)

Piadina is basically the Italian equivalent of a flour tortilla, a flat, simple bread, which is perfect for making these kinds of snacks- but by all means do go ahead and use tortillas if you want to give this a go!

To make these snacks, which are meant to be enjoyed cold, I started off by sauteing thinly sliced zucchini in a little olive oil, with some finely chopped garlic. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and a hint of nutmeg and tossed it gently for 2-3 minutes until the slices became soft and translucent and just slightly brown. I set the zucchini slices to one side and next added a little tomato paste to the pan, along with a little splash of olive oil, plenty of fresh thyme, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and a little cayenne. I stirred these around for a minute or so, to remove the bitter tang from the tomato paste and then added a little water to thin the paste down into a very simple and light sauce. 

So- at this point all of the real work is done and the rest is simple and fun! Lay the zucchini out onto the piadina whilst it is warm and moist- this will also soften the bread a little, making it easier to roll. Sprinkle with plenty of chopped parsley and mint, and grate with fontina cheese. Add a scattering of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes and some dried chili flakes if you like it a little spicier, then roll the piadina up and dip it into the tomato sauce from top and bottom, before laying it with the open end facing down onto a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and then bake for 5-10 minutes at your ovens highest setting, so that the tomato sauce dries-into the bread nicely and you get a nice, firm result. Turn on the broiler for a minute or two to get the cheese nicely melted and there you have it! Easy, quick and fun!

Allow to cool and cut into diagonal slices, ready to serve later with drinks- or to enjoy a larger serving of as your supper! You could indeed enjoy the rolls as a whole, piping hot and as a vegetarian main course is you so wished. But the term "stuzzicare" means "to pick at little appetizers"- so little appetizers it was this evening... and whatever you decide to do when you try them out- I simply hope you enjoy!

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