What’s a cold, drizzly day good for? Grumpy naysayers can bite their ravaged lips, gathering around the hearth while Italians effortlessly and elegantly cook a variety of foods on it is an unexpected form of bliss when you’re stuck inside.
But who would think of breading skewers of calamari and gamberetti and then cooking them over hardwood coals while drizzling them with olive oil?
This is genius. There’s a trick to it, of course. You try cooking breaded seafood on a grill without burning the crumbs!
So here’s the procedure. You rake some coals away from the fire. Then (and here’s the important bit) you take a scoop of ash and sprinkle it over the top, thus reducing the direct heat. So now, when you put your skewers on the grill, they’re met with a moderate heat. When things get going, you can drizzle olive oil over them and there’s no flare-up, the ash layer keeps things in control. It’s a brilliant technique.
What you end up with is juicy, smoky, crusty and so darned delicious you won’t believe you can so easily produce such exquisite taste from such pedestrian ingredients. All you need to round things out is a salad, some crisp white wine, and a bunch of un-grumpy people to help the hearth warm the room. (Click the picture to make your mouth water.)
(Grazie, Luisa of Palazzo Donati for the Good Friday lunch!)