Almost one week ago I finally arrived in Sicily. Right out of the plane, my home land welcomed me with a warm sunny embrace, relaxing and comforting.
It has been a few years since I last visited my family during the summer season. I had forgotten the mood, the still atmosphere, the crave for that breeze in the evening, the blinding sun, the suffocating heat, the singing cicadas, the sleepy cats spread over the shadowy ground; I had forgotten the Sicilian summer symbolon.
Already the day after my arrival it was farmers’ market day in my town. Sacrificing few hours of sleep, I joined my mother for a walk among the various stands. The day was sunny and not too warm; after a ride among the flock of innumerable cars all slowly approaching the city center with their occupant, we reached the market area. The first stalls to welcome us were those of clothes, shoes and other bric-a-brac. After finalizing few errands, we entered the food area inside the old soccer stadium.
Stacked heaps of bright yellow melons in mountains towered toward the sky as a humbling homage to the sun up ahead. Fragrant peaches and the purple globes of eggplants were everywhere around us.
Small yellow pears and bright red nectarines were competing with vibrant green peppers in the visual palette. The nose was well entertained too. Wafts or pickled olives and spicy cheese filled the air.
Crates of local wild greens where flanked either by a vivid blue plastic vessel filled with snails that the vendor caught with the compliance of the last rains, or by few crates of fishes so fresh they were still jumping.
Baby fishes, fresh sardines and other poor men fishes were the promises of some traditional delicacy to be enjoyed under the shades of a pergola or under an umbrella on the beach.
The free form eggplants, the curly peppers spoke the truth of the land as did the rugged faces blackened by the sun of the old vendors.
I missed all of these.
This was also the week for the monthly Velveteers challenge and this time it was Asha who decided the topic. She went for fruit in a savory dish.
Not such a difficult task after all, mostly because I like to include fruits in my savory dishes; I had only to overcome the limited pantry at my disposal. It was sure that I wanted the dish to orbit around the local yellow peaches. Fleshy, firm, aromatic, juicy, these peaches symbolize at best the warm summer sun.
This is what I came up with:
Crostini with spiced pork patty, celery cream and yellow peach
Ingredients (enough for 4-5 crostini):
- 4-5 thin slices of country bread or baguette;
- 2 tsp finely minced celery;
- 1/2tsp lemon juice;
- 100g sausage meat;
- 1/4tsp fennel seeds, crushed;
- Black pepper, crushed;
- 1 small yellow peach,
- few ajovani seeds;
- Olive oil;
Toast the bread slices in a little butter and oil till nicely browned and crisp.
In the meantime in a mortar, pound half of the celery with some oil to obtain a thick paste. Add now the lemon juice, some salt and the rest of the celery; pound again but do not crush the celery completely. Taste and season with salt and lemon juice as needed.
Mix the sausage meat with the fennell seeds and black pepper. Divide the mixture in patties the size of your bread slices and fry them in hot shallow skillet drizzled with some oil.
Cut the peach into slices, not too thin, and chop them into segments big enough to fit onto your bread slices.
When the sausage patties will be ready, slide them onto the toasted bread slices. Top the meat with some celery cream, few peach segments and complete with 1-2 ajovani seeds per crostino and a drizzle of olive oil.
Naturally this is not the only entry for this month's challenge, check what the other Velveteers came up with:
Aparna: Eggless Vegetable-Nut Loaf With A Sweet And Spicy Mango Jalapeño Sauce;
Asha: Pear Gelee with BBQ Short Ribs;
Ken: Skillet Roasted Sweet n Sour Pork;
Madhuli: Raw Banana Cutlets With Mixed Fruit Chutney;
Pamela: Green Papaya Curry.