A month at my beach house, for me, means spending more time gathering local produce for fresh dishes since we are surrounded by farms and olive groves. Although I love to spend long, relaxing days at the beach, the foodie in me always wins out and I end up (instead of soaking up the sun on the beach) spending long hours at the markets, shopping for gorgeous fragrant fresh fruits and veggies.
Many of these locally produced veggies and fruits are not so easy to find and experience, even in Italy, unless you are in a specific area. And I know better than anyone else that a tomato is not just a tomato. The locally produced peppers and tomatoes here are so flavorful it is almost as you are experiencing another thing.
My planned trip this morning to a local farmer's market was supposed to be a quick stop to pick up something for lunch. The vibrant colors of locally produced peaches, lettuces, the local tomatoes of Francavilla (a delicacy in their own right), and peppers practically beckon you to buy each and every one.
So here I sit in my kitchen overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the beach, with bags full of fresh peppers, a case of tomatoes, string beans, Romaine lettuce, peaches, locally grown figs, grapes from Sicily. I was planning to spend the afternoon at the beach and now (thank goodness the kitchen faces the beach) will have to be satisfied with my view of the beach while cooking in what now has become my test kitchen.
Since I need to whip something up for lunch first, one of my favorite 'at the beach' meals is peppers with frittata. This also makes a great filling for a panini to take to the beach or work if you have some left over, but also makes an ultra delicious 'eat at home' lunch. You will need the following ingredients:
1 pound of fresh sweet peppers, cleaned and cut into large strips or chunks
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
1/2 cup double malt beer
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Water as needed
Pinch of salt
For the frittata:
3 whole farm fresh eggs
Pinch of salt
3 slices of scamorza or fresh mozzarella to top frittata
Cook garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan for one minute. Add peppers, and cover with beer. Stir. Cover pan and let simmer on medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, every so often stirring and adding a few drops of water if all liquid has been absorbed. Add pinch of salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place olive oil in small saute pan and heat for one minute. Break eggs in bowl and beat with fork or wire whisk till frothy (two minutes or so). Pour into saute pan. Add a pinch of salt. When sides are firm, turn over frittata. Let cook for another minute or so till egg is well cooked and not runny. When cooked on both sides, place slices of mozzarella on top. Leave in pan, cover, but remove from heat. Let cheese melt for one minute. Serve with peppers on the side and sliced fresh bread or focaccia.
Serve this with an double malt beer or a chilled white wine. To make this lunch a heavenly meal you can't forget a baguette or loaf of authentic Italian bread or focaccia.
Stay tuned for more recipes from my house at the beach...