Summer is hot here, July and August have always been the hottest months of the year, and I know that it might seem strange now, but when I was little it was usual to rent a summer house for one or two months and just move down there.
It would be way too hot to work, and maybe we were still so very Italian that we would just surrender to the heat and "sacrifice" those working days to a more relaxed way of life. These were family days, mom and dad would be completely available to us. We could just tell them where we wanted to go. Part of the family would arrive from Naples, we would spend entire days out with cousins and uncles. Fishing, building sand castles and racing marbles on huge tracks built in the sand.Our parents would see us at lunch and dinner, briefly.
Still dream of those vacations.
We would go in Calabria, in Sardegna, in Puglia and in Campania. Exclusively on the beaches.
Lunches were made of fresh cool foods. Local ingredients and all the veggies that we would have bought in the local market, or that the neighbours or the house keeper would bring us... the best tomatoes of my life. The hospitality of south.
Nowadays is impossible to the most to have such long and luxurious vacations, I don't know many people that can afford it, I surely can't.
At least I can try to reproduce the cool feeling of those picnics lunches.
Ingredient for 6 people:
300gr/10oz raw spelt (farro)
a handful of cherry tomatoes
1 small carrot
1 celery stalk
1 onion sprig
1 small red sweet pepper
1 small cucumber
1 small zucchini
black greek olives
salt packed capers
pepper or chilli pepper
Extra Virgin Olive oil
White wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
Rinse the spelt in cold water, put it in a pan with lots of fresh water, ad a tablespoon of rock salt, and put it on the flame, cover and bring it to boil. Once the water boils, let it cook, uncovered for about 25/30 min, drain it and leave it to cool down.
While the spelt cooks, dice all the ingredients into small pieces, chop roughly the herbs and put all in a bowl.
At this point the spelt is cold, so put it on the salad, without mixing, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it to rest in the fridge until you will eat it.
When you are ready, season it with a generous splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and the vinegar. Toss and mix well. Serve it.
In the first picture it is served with hand cut tuscan Prosciutto and fresh figs. In the second with hand cut Tuscan prosciutto and zucchini blossoms and sage leaves dipped in batter and deep fried in Extra Virgin Olive oil.
This is a recipe/non recipe. It means that you literally can make it with what you have available. A friend of mine adds feta and avocado, my mom just use tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Some neighbour would cringe at the sight of black olives or capers, but you know what? If you keep the flavors balanced, there is really nothing you can't put in there!