Nick Risidi, of Amici Ristorante in East Parade, Keighley, revisits his Italian roots for another taste of the Mediterranean
IN Italy, when it comes to summer holidays, it’s a bit of a tradition to go to the sea.
No matter where you live, whether you go somewhere relatively local or abroad, many Italians seek out the sun and the sea, and spend lazy days swimming, enjoying the weather, and eating delicious food.
Where do Italians go on vacation if they go abroad? Places like the Maldives, the Caribbean, and Polynesia are all great spots for a beach vacation that’s different from home, but when home has so much to offer, where do Italians like to go? Places like Sardinia, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Liguria, Puglia and the Riviera Romagnola are all popular holiday destinations.
When it comes to summer holidays in Italy, June can be a good time to visit, as July and August can be far too hot – yes, even for locals. The height of summer, however, can be an incredible time to visit Italy, if you prepare for it. Packing things like sunscreen and hats can help, as well as some cool clothes – but be careful of dress codes, as some places like cathedrals may have rules about what you can and can’t wear outside. interior. Visiting places early in the day will help beat the crowds – and the midday sun – and it’s also worth noting that visiting cities in the summer will generally be quieter if many locals are vacationing on the beaches, although other tourists do. still flock to the popular spots.
Another way to beat the heat is to vacation in northern Italy where the weather will be cooler but there’s still plenty of beautiful scenery and incredible food to experience. A notable destination is the Dolomites, where hiking enthusiasts can wander through alpine meadows full of wildflowers and enjoy Italian or even German cuisine. If walking isn’t your thing, how about a stroll along the Amalfi Coast? Admire the sea, the green fields, travel from fishing villages to ancient monasteries built on top of the cliffs. And then, of course, there is Venice, the capital of the Veneto region in northern Italy, a city that needs no introduction. Rich in history, with stunning buildings and canals instead of roads, and iconic spots like the central square, Piazza San Marco, the home of St. Mark’s Basilica which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering a view of the city’s iconic red rooftops.
No matter where you go, if you’re vacationing like an Italian, one thing you’ll want to do is eat light, avoiding heavy pasta dishes and stews for lighter meals that are much easier to enjoy in the heat. summer.
My recipe this week is for Chicken Breasts with a Caprese Salad Style Topping. Quick and easy to do, with an impressive result. Try them for yourself.
CAPRESE CHICKEN BREASTS
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 cherry tomatoes
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
16 basil leaves
100g of flour
100g of breadcrumbs
30g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
12 toothpicks/small skewers
1. Preheat your oven to 6/250C and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Take your boneless, skinless chicken breasts and butter them. Start by laying each chicken breast flat and using a sharp knife, cut it almost completely down the side before opening it into a butterfly shape. If the chicken is not flat, cover with cling film and knock with a rolling pin to flatten it.
3. Place the chicken breasts in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and the juice and zest of one lemon. Leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.
4. Thinly slice the tomatoes before adding them to a small bowl with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Leave to marinate.
5. To stuff the chicken breasts, take one and open it vertically in front of you. Leave some space around the edges before placing four basil leaves, four slices of marinated tomatoes and two slices of mozzarella cheese in the middle of the breast. Fold the closed chicken breast over the filling, before securing it with toothpicks. Do the same with the other three chicken breasts.
6. Cover the chicken with breadcrumbs. Add the flour to a bowl and break the eggs into a second bowl before beating well. Add the grated parmesan, breadcrumbs and a pinch of pepper to a third bowl. One at a time, place each piece of chicken into the bowl with the flour, then the bowl with the eggs before finally the bowl with the breadcrumbs, evenly coating each breast.
7. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan (about 200ml) and place over medium heat until the oil is hot. Fry the chicken breasts two at a time. Place them seam side down in the skillet, frying on each side until golden brown (which should take about four minutes per side) before flipping and frying the other side. Once cooked, place the chicken breasts on a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat the process with the other two breasts before placing them all on your baking sheet, baking for five minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.