It was Italian day today...
Most of the day I was baking with the lovely chef Carla Tomasi who was making fabulous sweet ravioli and pastries and tweeting as she did so. I was going to make some delicious Italian pastries as well, but at the last moment decided to make a more English fruit cake, similar to Dundee cake but in little bars. You can see pictures and follow our tweet cook-in on my Storify summary here.
I had already decided that I would have one of my favourite simple Italian recipes, a spezzatino (basically that means any kind of stew) of chicken with vinegar and anchovies. I first discovered this recipe in a Time Life Good Food recipe book, and from what I can see, it is a pretty classical recipe. I have made it successfully over the years, it is one of my failsafe recipes, it just never seems to go wrong. The anchovies garlic and vinegar meld together to form a simply delicious sauce, full of flavour and not at all fishy.
Marcella Hazan describes it as a fricassee, but I would probably call it more of a saute than either that or a stew, I cook it in a battered little black enamelled frying pan I bought years ago in Spain, that goes happily in the oven.
I make it with chicken thighs, boned out and halved, and allow three large thighs for the two of us. Tossed in seasoned flour, I fry these in olive oil with rosemary added until crisp on the outside, and then drain most of the oil away (don't throw it away you can use it to roast the crusty Italian roast potatoes, cut small and roasted with lots more rosemary).
Pour over the sauce which you will make in a mortar from 5 anchovy fillets, 3-4 cloves of garlic mashed together finely, and then slaked with around a couple of wine glasses of white wine or cider vinegar. Allow this to simmer down to about half, and then move the pan into the oven to finish. If the sauce reduces too much, you can bring it back with a spoonful or two of water, heated through to re-emulsify the sauce, but don't expect copious gravy, you will only get about 3 tablespoons of sauce each.
Finish it with a fresh green vegetable, broccoli today
Che buono !