Let your tastebuds take you on a trip to Liguria, Italy!

ARDENT PE traveller Elma de Koker, wrote a lovely travel article about the Cinque Terre which is published in MyWeekend tomorrow (Saturday) – and as Salvelio and I are just back from Spain it made me itch to pack my suitcases again!

Elma and several friends recently visited the five beautiful coastal villages along the Italian Riviera, in the region of Liguria.
But those who are somewhat cash-strapped or don’t have the time (or leave!) to take a trip to the Cinque Terre can do the next best thing, The Global Table style!
Watch our video with well-known Port Elizabeth chef Joel Malkinson above and learn how to whiz up three easy Italian dishes, inspired by the fine produce of this rugged section of the Italian Riviera, in your own kitchen at home.
Given its location on the Mediterranean, the villages of the Cinque Terre are famous for their excellent seafood, with anchovies from  Monterosso a much-prized speciality that has earned “Protected Designation of Origin” status from the European Union.
The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and have been used for the cultivation of grapes and olives for centuries.
The area, and indeed the region of Liguria as a whole, is famous for its fine pesto and you’re sure to get dollops of the fragrant green stuff at every turn.
We asked Joel, of Mangiamo at Wicker Woods in Walmer, to share  three easy dishes inspired by the cuisine of the Cinque Terre and Liguria on The Global Table.

Joel’s roasted red, yellow and green peppers with easy olive oil dressing. Picture Salvelio Meyer

In the video clip above Joel shows how to go about roasting your own peppers for a colourful  antipasto or starter.
Spring has officially sprung and so Joel also threw together a quick Caprese salad made with beautifully ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella which is made especially for him by a supplier on the Garden Route and bears no resemblance to the rubbery supermarket stuff, and shiny, aromatic basil leaves.

Caprese salad with home-made pesto is an Italian favourite. Picture Salvelio Meyer

“Insalata Caprese” is perhaps more specifically associated with the region of Campania, but pesto is Ligurian through and through!
And there you have it: the secret to a killer Caprese is using good-quality basil pesto, even if it is shop-bought, although Joel was kind enough to share his favourite recipe below.
I have made pesto many times and it is always worth the effort – not that much effort is required, mind you.  Joel is not going to be very impressed with me but I confess I do economise on mine sometimes by replacing the rather pricey pine nuts with pecan nuts, or even sunflower seeds.
However, the pesto will have to be thinned with extra-virgin olive oil so it’s more of a dressing than a paste. And to plate the perfect Caprese salad check out the video by my hubby Global Table counterpart, Salvelio Meyer, today!

Salmon, avocado and asparagus salad with anchovy-lemon dressing. Picture Salvelio Meyer

Also on  the clip, Joel has a zesty recipe for a lemony  salad dressing flavoured with anchovies. It had a lovely texture to it and Salvelio and I can’t wait to  try it out on our own guests, as  it will surely transform even the most mundane of salads.
Not that there was anything mundane about Joel’s salad. He drizzled the dressing over a  masterpiece of a  salmon salad with avocado, grilled asparagus and a mix of greens, and the citrus notes complemented the omega-rich salmon and avo in the most delightful way.

Recipe: Basil Pesto

Ingredients

2 full cups basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Blitz all the ingredients until you  have the texture you would like.

Louise gets some kitchen pointers from Joel Malkinson, of Mangiamo at Wicker Woods. Picture Salvelio Meyer

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