Tag: green olives

Cod al Cartoccio with Olives, Parsley and Lemon

Cod al Cartoccio

Whenever I cook fish al cartoccio and I enjoy the tasty fillet’s firm perfection, I ask myself, why should I ever cook cod, salmon, trout, or monkfish any other way? If the timing and seasoning is right, the texture will be flaky and the meat infused with whatever aromas you decide to add to the paper bag. Fresh herbs, warming spices, fresh or preserved lemon, olives, capers, thinly sliced vegetables or prosciutto even, there are endless possibilities to turn dinner into an exciting package of flavours. However, when I’m in my Maltese mama Jenny’s garden in Msida, I feel the same about barbecued fish: Why should I ever turn on the oven again when there’s a nice catch from the fisherman on the table?

When we set up our BBQ in Berlin, there’s mainly meat and vegetables on the roast, fresh fish is a rather rare occasion, it stays in my indoor kitchen most of the time. In the city, I never plan my seafood meals, I buy what looks fresh and yummy and then I decide what’s going to happen with it. My thick piece of cod from the Atlantic got wrapped in a package, but before I closed it, I added lots of fresh parsley, green olives, white wine, and lemon slices. It was a beautiful Mediterranean lunch, which you should enjoy on a Saturday or Sunday, when there’s no more work waiting for you and you can pull a bottle of crisp white wine out of the fridge (without feeling guilty). Just relax and break chunks off an oily loaf of ciabatta to dip into the juices – summer perfection!

Cod al Cartoccio

 

Cod al Cartoccio

Cod al Cartoccio with Olives, Parsley and Lemon

Serves 2 for lunch

olive oil
cod fillet (or any firm, white fish, such as monkfish or halibut), preferably a thick center piece, about 350-400g / 12-14 ounces
fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 medium bunch
green olives, with pits, 14
organic lemon, rinsed and scrubbed, 2 slices
white wine 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

Set the oven to 200°C / 400°F (convection setting).

Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper large enough to wrap the fish and lay them on top of each other. Brush the top sheet with olive oil, place all but 1 sprig of the parsley in the middle, and lay the cod on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the remaining parsley on top of the fillet and finish it off with the lemon slices. Arrange the olives around the fish. Whisk the wine with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice and pour over the fish. To close the package, fold the sides over, twist both ends of the parchment paper, and fold the top twice so it’s well sealed. Place the parchment package in a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. If you can flake the fish gently with a fork, it’s done. If not, close the parchment again and continue baking for up to 5 minutes. The cooking time can vary depending on the fillet’s thickness, but mind that you don’t overcook it.

Cod al Cartoccio

 

Cod al Cartoccio

 

Cod al Cartoccio

 

Cod al Cartoccio

 

codalcartoccio10

 

codalcartoccio9

A Mediterranean Sandwich with Zucchini, Pesto and Olives

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

The past few days have been a pleasant break from my daily duties, my mother came to visit! I decided to take some time off for the long walks through the city which both of us love so much. We started with a beautiful place called Clärchen’s Ballhaus which opened more than 100 years ago, in 1913. It’s a restaurant/ dancehall where people still meet for Sunday tea dance. When we entered the room the sound of Samba, Waltzes and Tangos filled the air and the faces of the dancing couples seemed lost in nostalgic escape, it felt like a different world!

There’s also a gorgeous mirrored ball room on the first floor which has quite a morbid charm, it doesn’t sparkle with its original glory anymore. The room was heavily damaged in the war and it was used to store coal until 2005. The mirrors are dull and broken, the decorations and chandeliers on the ceiling can’t hide the strains of the past years. It’s a forgotten place, a remnant of Berlin’s party days from a century ago. When we left the building and its faded light we stepped right into the bright afternoon, we felt like kids who found an abandoned house.

Our next stop was the Museum Island, a group of beautiful and renowned museums on a little island in the Spree river. One of my favourite Berlin buildings is the Bode-Museum, when I first visited it many years ago I instantly fell in love with it and with the little bridge that leads to its entrance. The round building is a classic beauty, majestic but not intimidating. It keeps a stunning collection of marble sculptures in a light-flooded room, the folds and faces cut into the white rock almost seem alive. Our walk ended in front of this museum, at a bar outside on the river bank. We sat down in deck chairs, enjoyed Prosecco with Aperol and witnessed another one of Berlin’s tea dance scenes. On an open stage, couples danced Tango under the blue sky, forgetting everything and everybody around them. People stopped to watch them and I’ll never forget the beauty of this moment!

So much outdoor activity meant little time for the kitchen, we focussed on salads, snacks and sandwiches. We took it easy this time, no extensive cooking sessions. Usually, when my mother visits, we spend lots of time together in my kitchen but I needed a little break. Yesterday, we had a big family dinner at a restaurant with crayfish and asparagus and today, there’ll be oysters on our culinary schedule. In between, we fit in this little sandwich beauty, pure Mediterranean deliciousness stuffed in a juicy focaccia bun. I sautéed very thinly sliced zucchini and piled them up with ripe tomatoes, basil pesto and green olives. It tastes like summer!

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 A Mediterranean Sandwich with Zucchini, Pesto and Olives

For 2 sandwiches you need

focaccia buns, cut in half, 2
medium sized zucchini, cut into long, very thin slices, about 200g / 7oz
(this is best done with a cheese or vegetable slicer)
olive oil
salt
ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 6
green olives, cut in half, 6
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the pesto
fresh basil leaves 20g / 3/4oz plus a few small leaves for the topping
fresh mint leaves 2
pine nuts 1 tablespoon
parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon for the topping
olive oil 50ml / 1/4 cup
salt

Mix the ingredients for the pesto in a blender and season to taste.

In a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the sliced zucchini in batches, spread the slices out next to each other. Cook them on medium-high for 1 minute, turn and season them with salt and pepper and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side until soft and golden but not dark. Take them out of the pan and keep them on a plate. Continue cooking the remaining zucchini slices, always adding a little splash of olive oil between batches.

Lay the zucchini on the bottom half of each bun and spread the tomatoes and olives on top. Sprinkle with pesto, coarsely crushed pepper and basil leaves. Close the bun and enjoy!

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

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