Saturday, 12 December 2015

Three Sides to This Story!

Triangoli di Filo con Ricotta, Pancetta, Agrumi, Peperone & Peperoncino con una Insalata di Radicchio Rosso & Mandarino
Filo Triangles with Ricotta, Bacon, Citrus, Peppers & Chili with a Salad of Red Radicchio & Mandarin Orange

This may not seem a very "Wintery" meal at first sight- what with that salad, all bright and colorful and refreshing... and yet it is absolutely seasonal! We are beginning to get mandarin oranges from Sicily now and the beautiful red and green loose-leaf radicchio are also just beginning to come in-season- and so why ever not use them in combination!?! 

The sweetness of the fruit balances the bitterness of the leaves wonderfully! And the salad itself made for an excellent side dish to these little filo parcels... read on and I shall tell you more about them!

These are the kinds of little snacks me and my sisters would make for an occasion like Christmas Eve, where after having enjoyed a full lunch, most Sicilians will tend to eat small, savory tidbits like these in the evening.

I improvised these from a remaining 6 sheets of filo pastry, a last few of scoops of ricotta and a couple more bits and pieces... making good use of a few left-overs... as one does, a few days before leaving on vacation!
For the filling of my little parcels, I needed 4 tablespoons of ricotta, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped bacon, 2 small green pepper, chili flakes or simply pepper according to taste, a little zest from the mandarin, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil and as I already mentioned, 6 sheets of filo pastry.

As for the salad- well, that was just a very simple side of radicchio with a few mandarin orange segments, salt, pepper, dried oregano, a little balsamic vinegar and some extra virgin olive oil.

Savory snacks to nibble on and a refreshing, crisp salad to cleanse the palate- and totally easy to prepare at the same time! It's always great when you can just whip something together out of nowhere... it needn't be difficult to do either!

For these little "samosa styled" parcels, I mixed together a filling made of 4 tablespoons of ricotta, to which I added 2 tablespoons of finely chopped bacon, 1 finely chopped and mildly spicy green pepper, the zest of half a mandarin orange, a pinch of chili flakes and a pinch of salt.

Once the mixture was thoroughly stirred-through, I cut the filo pastry sheets into 4 equal strips and then taking the pastry 2-sheets at a time, scooped a little teaspoon of filling and set it out at one end.

I then folded the pastry shut, diagonally and squeezed the outer edge together... the stickiness of the cheese-filling holds everything in place wonderfully- so that you can continue to fold 2 more times in until your triangular parcels are full.

I found that I only needed half of the length of each strip of pastry for each parcel... which means that I got plenty of parcels from just a few spoonfuls of filling... which is a good thing when they are so delicious!

I layed out my little triangles on a baking sheet, brushed them from both sides with a little olive oil and popped them into a hot oven, at 200°C for 5-6 minutes before flipping them over and continuing baking for a further 5-10 until they were crispy and golden brown from each side.

Simple, delicious and yes of coarse- just as tasty and fun served cold as they are hot! But with a lot less oil or grease as when they deep fried! Which is a very, very good thing!

Light, crispy, flakey, and wonderful little parcels with a rich and flavorful, creamy interior! Remember there are lots of great flavors going on inside!

For the salad, simply thoroughly wash those little leaves, as they do tend to trap dirt. Then peel a mandarin orange and add the segments, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried oregano and add a splash balsamic vinegar to round things off and you are ready to serve- and to enjoy!

Just so wonderfully colorful and refreshing! Quite simply so!

And with a few of those cool nibbles on the side, this was a plate full of sunshine on a grey and dreary Winters day!

And with a few of those cool nibbles on the side, this was a plate full of sunshine on a grey and dreary Winters day!

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