Tag Archives: Appetisers

Delicious Summer Veggie Kebabs

Since the hot weather has finally arrived, it’s time to dust off the barbecue and eat plenty of fresh vegetables and delicious summer fruits! This time of the year we can be really creative with the dishes! Today we are going to prepare some fresh and light summer veggie kebabs and then, we are going to a party! It’s time to participate in Fiesta Friday, a lovely blog event hosted by my friend and talented blogger Angie, from the Novice Gardener, and co-hosted by other wonderful bloggers. This week, Fiesta Friday #21 is co-hosted by  Elaine@Foodbod and Julianna@Foodie On Board.

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This is a lovely light recipe, fresh and full of mediterranean flavours! It could be served as an aperitif, a side dish or a delicious light meal…You choose!

Enjoy!

Tip. You can remove the the bell pepper skin after grilling the vegetables, if you wish.

I left it because it’s quicker.

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Summer Veggie Kebabs.

Ingredients

4 servings

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 small aubergine

2 courgettes

green picked olives

1 small fresh goat’s cheese (150 g)

anchovies

cherries tomatoes

8 wooden skewers

For the dressing

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 crushed clove of garlic

some dried or fresh origano

2 small fresh chillies, cut into slices

salt and bleck pepper to taste

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Method.

1. Wash the vegetables, cut them into thin slices and grill them on an electric grill or on a grill pan, previously greased with a little extra virgin olive oil.

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2. Roll the zucchini with the goat’s cheese in the center. Roll the yellow pepper with the anchovies and the red pepper with the olives in the center.

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3. In a small bowl, mix the extra virgin olive oil and some dried origano with crushed garlic and chillies, salt and pepper.

4. Pierce the stuffed vegetables with the wooden skewers and make 8 kebabs. Serve cold with some garlic-olive oil sauce on the side.

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Spiedini saporiti di verdure.

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

1 peperone rosso

1 peperone giallo

1 melanzana

2 zucchine

olive verdi snocciolate

1 formaggio fresco di capra (150 g)

acciughe sott’olio

pomodorini ciliegia

8 stecchi di legno per gli spiedini

Per il condimento

6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

2 spicchi d’aglio (schiacciati e tagliati finemente)

un mazzetto di origano fresco o un cucchiaio di origano secco

2 peperoncini tagliati a fettine

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e tagliate le verdure a fette. Fate grigliare tutte  le verdure su una bistecchiera (o una piastra elettrica), spennellata con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva.

2. Arrotolate gli zucchini con un pezzetto di formaggio di capra e le melanzane con mezzo pomodorino al centro. Arrotolate anche il peperone rosso con le olive e il peperone giallo con le acciughe.

3. A parte, mescolate 6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva con l’origano, l’aglio schiacciato, il peperoncino a fettine, il sale e il pepe.

4. Infilzate le verdure con gli stecchi e create gli spiedini alternando i sapori. Servite gli spiedini freddi con l’olio aromatizzato.

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Special Stuffed Calamari (Quinoa Recipe)

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Stuffed calamari (calamari ripieni) is a very popular dish in Italy. Normally, the recipe is made with bread stuffing and some variation on the other ingredients. This time, we are going to prepare a quinoa stuffing with peas, anchovies and garlic. It is a wonderful starter and a great main meal served with vegetables. It might seem a little complex to prepare, but it’s such a delicious full-flavoured dish that it’s worth a try!

Tip. Calamari ( squid) should be fresh and properly cleaned before you start the preparation. It’s very important not to over cook the seafood, because calamari can become very chewy and unpleasant to eat. If that happens continue to cook them until they become tender again (in this case, remember to add more wine and some vegetable or fish stock).

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 Stuffed Calamari (quinoa recipe)

Ingredients 

for 3 servings

Preparation: 40 minutes

400g (14.1 oz) cleaned calamari (squid)

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 splash of white wine (non-acidic)

salt and pepper to taste

For the filling

50 g (1.76 oz) quinoa (uncooked)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

2 anchovies

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

20 g (0.7 oz) of frozen peas

1 egg

30 g (1.05 oz) grated Parmesan cheese

White wine (good quality)

Salt and pepper to taste

 Method

1. Wash the quinoa, using a strainer under running water, for a few minutes (to remove the natural bitter taste).

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2 . Cook for 15 minutes in 200 ml (6.76 us oz fl, 0.35 uk pt) of water, then cover with a lid and set aside.

3.  Separate the tentacles from the top of the body of the calamari. Finely chop the tentacles.

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4. Chop two cloves of garlic and two anchovies and gently fry them over a low heat with three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

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5. Add the chopped tentacles with the peas and (after a couple of minutes) drizzle with a little bit of white wine.

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6. Add the quinoa with two tablespoons of parsley, then stir and after a few minutes turn off the heat.

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7. Combine the ingredients with an egg, the Parmesan cheese, some salt and pepper and mix well. Stuff the calamari using a teaspoon (and your fingers) or a piping bag ( fill only 2/3 to avoid braking the calamari during the cooking time) . Seal the calamari with toothpicks.

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8. Put the calamari in a frying pan with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a chopped clove of garlic, a splash of white wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes at a medium heat,  after 5 minutes add a tablespoon of parsley and stir. Serve warm.

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Calamari ripieni con quinoa.

 Ingredienti

per 3 persone

400 g di calamari puliti (senza dente)

1 spicchio d’aglio

2 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

1 spruzzata di vino bianco (non acido)

sale e pepe q b

 Per il ripieno

50 g quinoa (cruda)

3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

2 spicchi d’aglio

3 cucchiai di prezzemolo (tritato finemente)

20 g di piselli surgelati

Sale e pepe q b

1 uova

30 g Parmigiano Reggiano grattugiato

vino bianco (non acido) q b

2 acciughe sott’ olio (alici)

 Preparazione

1. Lavate la quinoa, utilizzando un colino sotto l’acqua del rubinetto, per qualche minuto (questa operazione serve a togliere il sapore amaro della quinoa).

2. Fate bollire per 15 minuti in 200 ml d’acqua, poi spegnete il fuoco, coprite con un coperchio e mettete da parte.

3. Usando un coltello, separate i tentacoli dalle tasche dei calamari. Tritate finemente i tentacoli.

4. Tritate e fate soffriggere a fuoco basso due spicchi d’aglio e due acciughe con tre cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva.

5. Aggiungete i tentacoli tritati con i piselli e annaffiate con un po’ di buon vino. Fate ritirare a fuoco lento.

6. Aggiungete la quinoa con due cucchiai di prezzemolo, mescolando per qualche minuto e poi spegnete il fuoco.

7. Unite agli ingredienti un uovo, del parmigiano, sale, pepe e mescolate bene. Riempite i calamari usando un cucchiaino o la saccapoche (riempite solo 2/3, per evitare che si rompano durante la cottura). Chiudete con degli stuzzicadenti.

8. Mettete i calamari in una padella con due cucchiai d’olio, uno spicchio d’aglio tritato, uno spruzzo di vino bianco e un po’ di sale e pepe. Fate cuocere per 10 minuti a fuoco medio, aggiungendo un cucchiaio di prezzemolo dopo 5 minuti. Spegnete e servite.

Steamed Prawn and Bell Pepper Kebabs.

Today I am publishing my first recipe of the year, after taking a little break.
Bearing in mind that many of you will be on a diet, just like me, after a full-on Christmas feast, I decided to go for a light and delicate starter made with seafood and vegetables . Experimenting in my kitchen, not long ago, I discovered that the delicate flavours of yellow bell peppers and prawns complement each other very well, especially if steamed. This recipe is very healthy and the preparation is quick and easy, however it’s important to get the cooking time right, because if you overcook the ingredients the final result won’t be any good, as the bell peppers will become too soft and the prawns will turn out hard, dry and chewy. In order to avoid this follow carefully the instructions and you’ll have the most amazing prawn kebabs!
Tip. As a light meal, serve the prawn kebabs with steamed basmati rice.
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Prawn and bell pepper kebabs.
Ingredients
for 4 people ( for 8 kebabs)
2 big yellow peppers (or 3 small peppers)
450 g prawn tails, to clean
a few leaves of fresh parsley
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash the peppers, remove the core, pith and seeds, then cut them into 2 halves.
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2. Wash and peel the prawns. Using a knife, remove the hard parts and the dark vein on the back.
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3. Steam the peppers for about 10-15 minutes (external side facing down).
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4. Remove the peppers from the heat, peel the skin off using a knife and cut them into small pieces (about 4 cm).
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5. Steam the prawns for about 3 minutes.
6. Insert the skewers, alternating pieces of pepper with prawns.
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For the seasoning (lime citronette sauce).
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1. In a small bowl, mix 6 spoons of extra virgin olive oil with the lime juice.
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2. Chop a few parsley leaves finely.
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3. Mix all the ingredients together with some salt and pepper.
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4. Season the prawn kebabs and serve them warm with the sauce.
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Spiedini di Gamberi e Peperoni (cottura a vapore).

Ingredienti

per 4 persone (8 spiedini)

2 grandi peperoni gialli (o 3 piccoli)

450 g di code di gambero (da pulire)

alcune foglie di prezzemolo

6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva

3 cucchiai di succo di lime

sale e pepe q b

1. Lavate, pulite e tagliate i peperoni in due.

2. Pulite e sgusciate i gamberi, eliminando completamente la buccia e il budellino nero.

3. Fate cuocere i peperoni a vapore per 10-15 minuti (con la parte esterna verso il basso).

4. Togliete i peperoni dal fuoco, sbucciateli delicatamente e tagliateli a pezzetti rettangolari.

5. Fate cuocere a vapore i gamberi per 3 minuti.

6. Infilzate gli ingredienti con degli spiedini di legno, alternando dei pezzi di peperone ai gamberi.

Per la citronette di lime.

1. In una piccola ciotola, mischiate 6 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva con 3 cucchiai di succo di lime.

2. Tritate qualche foglia di prezzemolo molto finemente.

3. Unite tutti gli ingredienti, aggiungendo anche un po’ di sale e pepe.

4. Condite bene gli spiedini di gamberi e serviteli tiepidi, accompagnandoli con il condimento.

Smoked aubergine puree with egg sauce and tomatoes.

This week I am posting a recipe elaborated and prepared by Anahita Tcheraghali, an Iranian friend. It’s a revisitation of the traditional Iranian dish “mirzà ghasemì”. The combination of egg sauce (a light hollandaise sauce) and smoked aubergines in this recipe is quite unusual and a little surprising. You might want to add a little more lemon, in my opinion the lemon helps to bring the flavours together. Overall, as I said, quite an uncommon but interesting dish, quick and easy to prepare.

Anahita prepared this dish in the most traditional way, directly on the flame, however as a healthier and safer cooking method,  you can use the oven instead.

Ingredients
Serves 4
2 medium size aubergines (eggplants)
300 g (10.58 oz) piccadilly tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
3 egg yolks
250 ml (8.45 fl oz) milk
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of butter
sesame seeds, a handful
a dash of lemon juice
a pinch of ground nutmeg
salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil to taste
1. Pierce the aubergines and put them to roast on a high heat, directly on the flame (or you can use the oven).
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2. Peel the aubergines, add the garlic and salt, then puree the vegetables using a fork.
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3. Separately, wash, clean and cut the tomatoes, removing the seeds.
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4. Toast the sesame seeds for about ten minutes in a frying pan.
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5. In a small thick saucepan, mix the egg yolks with milk, then stir for about ten minutes over a low heat (be careful not to boil the mixture)
6. Turn off the heat. Add the butter (cut into small pieces) with salt and some nutmeg.
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Preparation of the dish.
1. Shape a dome with the aubergine puree and make a hole in the centre.
2. Pour the egg sauce onto the puree and onto the plate.
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3. Sprinkle the tomatoes (cut into small pieces) and sesame seeds on top.
4. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
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Purea di melanzane affumicate con crema all’uovo.

2 melanzane di media grandezza lunghe o tonde

300 g di pomodorini piccadilly o datterini

3 tuorli d’uovo

250 ml di latte

1 spicchio d’aglio

1 cucchiaio da tavola di burro

una manciata di semi di sesamo

un pizzico di noce montata

un po’ di succo di limone

olio extra vergine di oliva, sale e pepe q b

1. Forate le melanzane e mettetele ad abbrustolire su fiamma viva (oppure potete usare il forno).

2. Spellate le melanzane, aggiungete una testa d’aglio (a cui è stata tolta l’anima) ,un po’ di sale e riducetele in purea.

3. A parte, lavate, pulite e tagliate i pomodorini a dadini.

4.Tostate i semi di sesamo per una decina di minuti in una padella.

5. In un pentolino, mischiate i tuorli con il latte. Fate pastorizzare la crema a fuoco basso per una decina di minuti, senza portare a bollore.

6. Spegnete la fiamma. Aggiungere il burro a tocchetti con della noce moscata e un pizzico di sale.

Preparazione del piatto.

1. Formate una cupola con la purea di melanzane e create un buco al centro.

2. Versate la crema all’uovo prima sulla purea e poi sulla base del piatto.

3. Cospargete i pomodorini e i semi di sesamo sulla crema.

4. Condite con olio, sale, pepe e una spruzzatina di limone.

Spring onion stuffed focaccia bread.

My grandmother used to prepare this recipe for family dinners and celebrations. I remember eating a lot of this focaccia bread at every dinner we had. Of course, as usual, I made my own version using wholemeal flour and less anchovies and olives than in the original recipe. Anyway, it’s delicious and quite a versatile dish that you can have as a main vegan or vegetarian dish, or as a side dish with other courses. 
I am very happy to share this recipe here, its flavour takes me back to some good memories.
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Ingredients

500 g (17.6 oz) of well risen pizza dough (I made mine with 1/3 wholemeal flour, 1/3 wholemeal spelt flour, 1/3 sourdough, water and salt) . Also see the post on how to make pizza dough with yeast for the recipe.

500 g ( 17.6 oz) spring onions

4-5 anchovies in oil

50 g (1.76 oz) pitted green olives 

extra virgin olive oil 

salt to taste

1. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Take one part and shape a disk slightly larger than 30 cm in diameter.

2. Take an oven pan (28 cm in diameter), grease with plenty of olive oil and roll out the dough.

3. Peel and slice the spring onions, including the tender green part. Fry the onions with plenty of olive oil over low heat, until they are tender.

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4. Cut the olives, chop the anchovies and place all the ingredients evenly on the dough.

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5. Make another disk with the remaining dough, in order to cover and seal the focaccia, then let it rise for an hour.

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6. Season with some salt and a little bit of oil, then bake at 200 ° C (392° F) for 20 minutes.

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Focaccia integrale ripiena con cipollotti e olive.
Ingredienti

500 g di pasta da pane ben lievitata (ho fatto la mia usando 1/3 di farina integrale, 1/3 di farina di farro, 1/3 di pasta madre, acqua e sale)

500 g di cipollotti

4-5 acciughe sott’olio

50 g di olive verdi snocciolate

olio extra vergine d’oliva e sale qb

1. Dividete la pasta in due parti uguali. Prendete una parte dell’impasto e formate un disco leggermente più grande di 30 cm di diametro.

2. Prendete una teglia da forno (di 28 cm di diametro), ungete con abbondante olio d’oliva e stendere la pasta.

3. Sbucciare e affettare i cipollotti, compresa la parte verde più tenera. Fate soffriggere con abbondante olio d’oliva a fuoco basso.

4. Tagliare le olive e tritate le acciughe. Stendete tutti gli ingredienti in modo uniforme sulla pasta.

5. Formate un disco con la pasta rimasta per coprire e sigillare la focaccia. Lasciate lievitare per circa un’ora.

6. Condite con un po’ di sale e olio, quindi infornare a 200 ° C per 20 minuti.

Pinzimonio (vegetable crudites) with yogurt and mustard sauce.

This week we are going to prepare a lovely platter of Italian-style vegetable crudites (Pinzimonio) with a nice creamy sauce. Light and healthy, this colorful platter consists of a mixture of crunchy vegetables, usually cut into sticks and served with a dressing on the side. For this recipe I prepared a slightly chilled dipping sauce, made with yogurt and mustard.

 Ingredients

4-6 servings

1 large tomato

3 medium carrots

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

1/2 fennel

1 bunch of red radicchio leaves

1 bunch of radishes

3 stalks of celery

 for the sauce

1 low-fat greek yogurt ( 170 g, 5.99 oz, unsweetened)

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons strong mustard

a pinch of honey

salt and paprika to taste

Method.

1. Wash and prepare all the vegetable, then cut them into sticks ( except the radicchio leaves and radishes). Put all the vegetable to soak in cold water for a few minutes and drain.

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2. Separately, prepare a sauce combining the yogurt with mustard and the honey.

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3. Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and paprika to the mixture.

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4. Put the sauce to cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

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5. Serve the vegetables on a large dish (or two) with the sauce in the centre.

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Pinzimonio di verdure con salsa di yogurt e senape.

1 pomodoro grande

3 carote medie

1 peperone giallo

1 peperone rosso

1/2 finocchio

1 mazzetto di radicchio rosso

1 mazzetto di ravanelli

3 coste di sedano

 per la salsa

1 yogurt greco magro (170 g, non zuccherato)

1 cucchiai di aceto di mele

1 cucchiaio di olio extravergine di oliva

2 cucchiai di senape

pochissimo miele

sale e paprica q b

Preparazione.

1. Lavate, mondate e tagliate le verdure a bastoncino, tranne il radicchio e i ravanelli. Immergete le verdure in acqua molto fredda per qualche minuto.

2. A parte, preparate una salsa unendo lo yogurt alla senape e al miele.

3. Aggiungete l’olio, l’aceto di mele, il sale e la paprica.

4. Mettete la salsa a raffreddare in frigorifero per 30 minuti. 

5. Servite le verdure in un piatto grande da portata (o due) , con la salsa al centro.

My Favourite Oven-Baked Falafels.

Oven-baked broad bean falafel (front view 1 with yellow cloth)

Falafel is delicious middle eastern food, usually prepared with dried chickpeas or dried broad beans (fava beans). Broad bean falafel is a traditional egyptian recipe. Being rich in vegetable protein, this food is an excellent alternative to meatballs in vegetarian diet. In this recipe, I changed a few steps in order to get a little lighter dish. Falafels can be served with a yogurt and cucumber sauce, or with fresh tomato salad.

Oven-cooked broad bean falafel (raw on a plate, front view) 

Oven-cooked broad bean falafels.

Ingredients

Serves 2-4  (16 falafel)

preparation: 20 minutes + 12 hours to soak the beans in water + 30 minutes (minimum) refrigeration

cooking time: 30 minutes

150 g (5.2 oz) dried broad beans

1 large onion

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (ground)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds (ground)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (ground)

1 tablespoon wholemeal flour (or plain flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder or baking soda

3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt (maybe a little less)

pepper to taste

Method.

1. Let the beans soak in a bowl overnight (12 hours, at least).. Lay a kitchen towel on a table and rub the broad beans to dry them up.

Step 1. Soak the beans, then dry them with a towel.

2. Put the beans in a food processor and chop finely with the onion, garlic and parsley. Add the seeds (already finely ground), flour , salt , pepper and baking powder. Mix well.

Step 2. Chop the beans with garlic, the onions and all the other ingredients.

Step 2. Chop the beans with garlic, the onions and all the other ingredients.

3. Place the mixture to cool for 30 minutes in the refrigerator (sometimes I leave it in the fridge for hours, I think my falafels taste even better afterwards). Form small balls with the mixture.

Step 3. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, then shape small balls.

4. In a frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, then fry the balls until they are golden on all sides. Place all the falafels in a greased baking tray and cook in the oven at 170 ° C (338° F) for about 20 minutes. Serve while still warm.

Step 4. fry the falafel until golden, then bake for 20 minutes.

Falafel di fave cotti al forno.

Ingredienti

2-4 persone (16 falafel)

Preparazione: 20 minuti + 12 ore per fare ammorbidire le fave in acqua + 30 minuti (minimo) per far riposare l’impasto nel frigo.

Cottura: 30 minuti

150 g di fave secche

1 cipolla grande

1 spicchio d’aglio

2 cucchiai di prezzemolo fresco tritato

1 cucchiaino di semi di cumino tritati

1 cucchiaino di semi di coriandolo tritati

1 cucchiaio di semi di sesamo tritati

1 cucchiaio di farina integrale (o farina normale)

3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva

1 cucchiaino di lievito in polvere o bicarbonato per uso alimentare

1  cucchiaino scarso di sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Lasciate le fave a bagno in una ciotola per tutta la notte. Stendete un panno sul tavolo e asciugate le fave strofinandole bene. 

2. Mettete i legumi in un tritatutto e tritateli molto finemente con la cipolla, l’aglio e il prezzemolo. Aggiungete i semi ( già finemente tritati), la farina, il sale , il pepe e il lievito in polvere (o bicarbonato). Mescolate bene tutto.

3. Lasciate riposare l’impasto per almeno 30 minuti nel frigorifero ( lasciandolo riposare più a lungo, ho dei risultati anche migliori). Con l’impasto ottenuto, formate tante polpette di piccole dimensioni.

4. In una padella scaldate 3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva, poi fate soffriggere le polpette facendole dorare su tutti i lati. Quando le polpette saranno completamente dorate, mettetele in una teglia leggermente unta e fatele cuocere a 170° per 20 minuti. Servite i falafel quando sono ancora caldi.