12/06/05 Involtini di Pesce Spada from

"Buon Giorno e Buone Feste!" Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Pesce Spada nel Pane Profumato alle Erbe
  -Zuppa di Vongole
  -Involtini di Pesce Spada

Try these Italian seafood specialties for the family Christmas Eve dinner! Enjoy the complimentary news article report from "Only In".

Enjoy the issue!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Pesce Spada nel Pane Profumato alle Erbe

Pesce Spada nel Pane Profumato alle Erbe
Swordfish Marinated with Herb Bread


1 lb. center cut swordfish
8 oz. coarse sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 lemons, quartered
1 tbs. crushed peppercorns

Drying process in bread crust:
1 loaf day-old country bread
1 bunch dill
1 tsp. coriander
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
5 oz white wine
1 tbs. Juniper berries

1 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbs. white wine vinegar
1 pinch basil, chives, tarragon, thyme, oregano, coriander seeds, dill, parsley
1-2 slices day-old bread
Black pepper

Herb breadcrumbs:
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1 loaf day-old bread cubed
A few sprigs parsley, basil, chives, tarragon, thyme, oregano
Julienne of 1 celery heart

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
julienne of 1 celery heart


Place the center cut piece of swordfish in a container and cover with coarse salt, sugar, black peppercorns and pieces of lemon.

Turn 3 times per day in this marinade or at least 48 hours or until the swordfish has let out all its natural water and juices, leaving a very firm, solid piece.

Drying process:
After curing, rinse the swordfish in a container and dispose of the marinade.

Cut the day-old bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.

Add all coarsely chopped herbs, crushed cloves garlic, oil and vinegar. This should produce a moist bread compote that is then pasted around the piece of swordfish, set on a rack, then into the refrigerator.

Allow resting for 48-72 hours. Thereafter, remove the bread crust and wrap the swordfish in cling film. Keep refrigerated.

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and set aside.

Herb Bread Crumbs:
Cut the day-old bread into large cubes.

Place garlic, shallots and herbs in a food processor and chop until semi fine, then mix in the day-old bread. (The bread should be dry, as the herbs contain water and when chopped become moist. If the bread is too soft or too fresh, it will become pasty instead of turning into green-colored breadcrumbs).

Pass through a fine sieve and place on a sheet pan to air dry. Set aside. Slice the swordfish very thin using an electric slicer and cover the bottom of a platter.

Mix dressing and slightly cover the swordfish with it. Sprinkle with green breadcrumbs.

In a small bowl, season the julienne of celery heart with salt and pepper. Toss with the dressing and fresh parsley. Arrange all around the plate. Garnish with cubes of tomato and serve.

That's it!

 Recipe: Zuppa di Vongole

Zuppa di Vongole
Clam Soup


6 lbs. very fresh clams
4 slices bread, about 1/2-in. thick
2 tbs. parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped


Clean the clams, rinse thoroughly, and soak in cold, lightly salted water for 2-3 hours without touching them, so that they open, releasing any possible remaining sand.

Chop the parsley. Pound 1 clove garlic in a mortar. Toast the bread.

Take the clams out of the water and let them drain through your fingers (do not drain with a colander, to avoid picking up the sand as well).

Crush the rest of the garlic and brown it with the olive oil in a large pan. When the garlic is lightly brown, remove with a pierced spoon and discard.

Add the tomatoes and a pinch of peperoncino. Cook for about 5 mins. and add the clams. Cover the pot and cook until all the clams are open.

Add the chopped parsley and remove from fire. Place the bread into single bowls. Pour the broth with the clams over the bread and serve hot.

Note: This zuppa can be prepared without tomatoes. Replace them with 1 cup of white wine; reduce for 2 mins. and add the clams. Proceed as above.

That's it!

 Recipe: Involtini di Pesce Spada

Involtini di Pesce Spada
Swordfish Rolls


2 lbs. Swordfish, very thinly sliced and trimmed
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Olive oil
Parsley, chopped
Basil, chopped
1 tbs. capers
3 oz. Provolone piccante
3 oz. breadcrumbs
2 eggs


Chop and brown the onion, garlic and bits of the swordfish trimmings in 1 tbs. oil. Add the parsley, basil, breadcrumbs and capers. Cook for 2 min., and then remove from heat, cool, and pass through a food mill.

Combine the diced Provolone piccante and the eggs with the mixture.

Add salt and pepper to taste and work into smooth filling.

Flatten the swordfish fillets slightly with a mallet and place a spoonful of filling in the middle.

Roll up the fillets and close with toothpicks.

Cook the swordfish rolls either broiled or sauteed in olive oil. Serve with salmoriglio sauce.

Note: The swordfish trimmings should weigh no less than 8 oz.

That's it!

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 Only In Italy!

"Only In Italy" is a daily news column that translates and reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news resources in Italy. Each story is slapped with our wild, often ironic, and sometimes rather opinionated comments. And now, for your reading pleasure:

Snail Mail: Letter Delivered to 500 Meters Distance in 99 Days.

(AGI) - Como - June 18 - We may well be living in the age of real-time, multimedia communication, but this doesn't seem to apply to the Italian village of Magreglio, near Como. Here, a letter sent by ordinary mail from the local town hall took 99 days to be delivered at 500 meters' distance.

When it finally made it to Paolo Solbiati's letter-box, the letter, containing a notice that Mr Solbiati's identity card was about to expire, was already three-months' old, having been sent on March 8.

"I just couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke," says Paolo Solbiati. But the mayor of Magreglio objects: "Unfortunately, all the letters posted in this area are forwarded to the post office of Roserio, near Milan. From here, they are delivered to the final addresses. Obviously that also applies to letters in which sender and receiver live in the same town."

The press office at Italian Mail explains that "in Lombardy, there are 9 million inhabitants and thousands of firms. Every day, we are faced with enormous amounts of letters which are sent and delivered worldwide. That explains why we may make the occasional mistake. I personally think Mr Solbiati's letter got lost somewhere before it was eventually found and delivered. We do apologize for the inconvenience, which is however understandable considering the huge amount of work we do every day."

"Ma porca puttana...!"

Please don't blame our postal system. After all, how can it deliver mail, give stock brokerage tips and run a bank all before the 1:00 PM closing time?

Unlike some sane countries, the Italian postal service provides a vast and unnecessary array of financial services in addition to simple mail delivery (just picture asking an Italian farmer if he could milk a goat with one hand and prepare your retirement plan with the other).

Eventually, insanity sets in and it's due to the fact that it does too many things it shouldn't. Each month, for example, millions of Italians receive their pensions and salaries at the post office. Hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses have savings deposit plans with the post office. In addition, one can purchase state bonds and certificates or pay utility bills, traffic tickets, state and local taxes. Some types of special payments to the government can even be made, e.g. fees for school lunches and the annual television tax. (Yes, you read correctly. Italians pay a television tax so that they can have the legal privilege to watch a bunch of bad TV shows.)

If you are lucky enough to only need to mail a letter, you could buy stamps at a shop that sells tobacco. But registered letters could only be registered at the post office and, given the incredible reliability of the delivery service, it is necessary to register anything whose delivery you actually cared about.

The banking sector functions like the "Mad Cow" disease. Each payment slip has three portions: one that vanishes into an unknown hemisphere (although the transaction is also recorded on a computer somewhere in the country), one that you give to the payee to prove you had paid, and one that you are supposed to keep for the rest of your natural life.

Another exciting aspect about banking in the post office is that it means that, during the early part of the month, an office with the security of a hog farm is holding enormous amounts of cash and paying it out to little old fifty-pound ladies. This leads to regularly-scheduled muggings and fleecing of old people just outside the post office and to the national sport of post office armed robbery.

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