Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fall In Sicily Cooking Class

This week I took a Sicilian cooking class.  It was so much fun!  The class was called "Fall in Sicily".  It was a hands on cooking class, meaning that we did all the recipes on our own (or rather working in pairs and/or groups).  I was having so much fun getting my hands dirty that I forgot to snap pics.

Here's the menu:

- Roasted Tomato Bruschetta on Toasted Focaccia Bread
- Fennel and Orange Salad (mustard seeds, red onions, fresh oregano, frisee and radicchio)
- Pan Seared Swordfish (with a roasted tomato sauce, capers and lemon)
- Handmade Pappardelle (with a roasted red pepper, roasted eggplant, herb and olive sauce)
- Sicilian Potato Gratin (anchovies, fresh herbs, mozzarella and parmesan cheese)
- Handmade Cannoli (with assorted fillings)

We were served the Roasted Tomato Bruschetta on arrival with champagne.  It was a delicious snack before we got working.  We split up into groups and divided out the menu.  I was in a group that worked on making the handmade pappardelle (FUN!) and the roasted eggplant sauce for the pasta.  I also helped make the Sicilian Potato Gratin.  We were also encouraged to wander and see what the others were doing.  It was a fun and hugely successful evening.

At the end, we were seated and served dinner in courses with wine.  Delicious!  We started with the Fennel and Orange Salad.  I'll admit, I didn't think I was going to remotely enjoy this salad.  I don't like black licorice and have never had fennel because I've been told it tastes like licorice.  Not true at all!   The fennel was shaved very very thin (on a mandolin) and was delicious!  I'm shocked!  Of course, I picked out all the red onions but I really enjoyed this salad.  The toasted mustard seeds added a nice touch and the orange sherry vinaigrette tied all the ingredients together nicely.

Next came the Handmade Pappardelle Pasta with the roasted eggplant sauce.  The sauce was garlicky but delicious!  I loved the roasted eggplant and red peppers in the sauce.  I've never made handmade pasta before but have always wanted to try.  I think I've been too intimidated to give it a whirl.  Making the pasta with a group of people made it fun and enjoyable.  It was a lot of work but the texture of the noodles was worth it!  Delicious!!  I am sooo buying myself a pasta maker.

The next course was the Pan Seared Swordfish with a Roasted Tomato Sauce that was bedded on the Sicilian Potato Gratin that I helped make.  For me, this was one of my favorite courses.  The fish was cooked perfectly and the roasted tomato sauce was delicious!!  I wasn't sure I'd be that excited about the potato gratin.  It had anchovies in it.  But it was a creamy, salty wonder!  The anchovies added a nice saltiness without an overpowering fishiness.  It was a show stopper!  I was getting full so I didn't finish all of this course.  I was saving room for dessert!

Cannoli....delicious cannoli!  I watched a few people make the cannoli shells.  They handmade dough and rolled it out.  They cut it into circles and rolled them around cannoli tubes then deep fried them.  Fun!!  We were served 3 cannoli with a different filling in each (chocolate, orange and a honey spiced filling).  They were all spectacular but my favorite was the chocolate!!

After dinner I was stuffed!  I had a great time!  The class was wonderful and we had a fabulous group!  The exciting part was that we were given all the recipes to take home!!  I'll have to try to recreate these flavors soon!



the red headed traveler said...

This sounds awesome! Especially the cannoli. They are definitely my guilty pleasure. I also hate anything that tastes like black licorice but that's nice to hear it wasn't what you thought it would be. I don't believe I've ever had Sicilian food but I'm sure it's good.