12/23/08 Halibut with Herb Sauce from

"Bacco, tabacco e Venere riducono l'uomo in cenere." (Wine, tobacco and Venus reduces the man to ashes.) Welcome to another recipe edition from Adriana's Italian Bakery!

This week's Italian recipes:
  -Rosemary Focaccia
  -Sardines with Shallots
  -Halibut with Herb Sauce

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Arrivederci e a presto!

Yours Truly,              
Adriana Ciccarello       

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 Recipe: Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia


1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Equipment: a standing electric mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook


Stir together 1 and 2/3 cups lukewarm (105 to 115įF) water and yeast in bowl of mixer and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 5 cups flour, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 and 1/2 teaspoons table salt and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until a dough forms.

Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at high speed until soft, smooth, and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in 1 to 2 tablespoons more flour.

Knead dough 1 minute (it will still be slightly sticky), then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn dough to coat with olive oil.

Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, at warm room temperature, until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.

Press dough evenly into a generously oiled 15 by 10 by 1-inch baking pan.

Let dough rise, covered completely with a kitchen towel, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425įF.

Stir together rosemary and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Make shallow indentations all over dough with your fingertips, then brush with rosemary olive oil, letting it pool in indentations.

Sprinkle sea salt evenly over focaccia and bake in middle of oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Immediately invert a rack over pan and flip focaccia onto rack, then turn right side up.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 (15 by 10 by 1-inch) focaccia loaf

Note: If grains of coarse sea salt are very large, you may want to crush them slightly before sprinkling over focaccia.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Sardines with Shallots

Sardines with Shallots
Sardine allo Scalogno


Plain flour, for dusting
1 egg
6 fl oz (175 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 and 3/4 lb (800 grams) sardines, scaled, cleaned and boned
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig, finely chopped
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper


Spread out the flour in a shallow dish and lightly beat the egg in another shallow dish.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.

Dip the sardines first in the flour, then in the egg and fry for 5 minutes or longer, depending on their size.

Mix together the shallots, parsley and vinegar in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the sardines with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Place them on a warm serving dish and serve with the shallot sauce. Serves 4.

That's it!

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 Recipe: Halibut with Herb Sauce

Halibut with Herb Sauce
Halibut con Salsa alle Erbe


6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Six 6-ounce halibut fillets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Puree first 5 ingredients in processor.

Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler.

Brush fish with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Broil until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer fish to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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:

No Italian Universities in Top 100

Bologna - October 10, 2008 - Italy's best university is ranked 192nd after Bombay and Korea. La Sapienza and Bocconi not in top 200.

Is Bologna Learned or Lazy? The original Alma Mater seems to be growing old gracelessly, poised for relegation and worse off than the city's football team. Once, the university made the world think; now it makes you think only the worst. It's light years behind Harvard and Oxford, which we already knew, and way behind Europe in research, as it has been for years. But now it has slipped behind Hong Kong, Moscow, Bombay, the Chinese and others.

"Whatever happened to the University of Bologna?" was the headline over a page two Times editorial on the paperís annual list of the world's top 200 seats of learning. Ignoring Milan's Bocconi and La Sapienza in Rome, it commented with a shudder that the world's oldest university, the only Italian institution left in the table and once "a renowned home to scholars of great distinction", had slipped to 192nd place - 78th in Europe - for quality of research, graduate employment rates and international visibility. In a word, all the things Bologna has provided for a thousand years.

A thousand but no more: what exactly has happened, Bologna? "Well, the Times is sending out warning signals to someone else", replies the university's rector, Pier Ugo Calzolai.

"We aren't the problem. We may have trouble balancing the books in 2010 but at least we're on the list. The problem is Italy, which doesn't invest enough in research and is destined to fall behind Asia". Political scientist Gianfranco Pasquino, who has been teaching at Bologna since 1969, acknowledges that "something is happening to this ageing university, ageing city and ageing country" while expressing doubts about the Times in London, which downgrades Italy and includes 29 British universities. "It surprises me not to see the Bocconi in the top 200".

The days of glossarists and pandectists are past. No more can we rest on the laurels of Copernicus, Borromeo, Carducci and Pascoli. Bologna is losing students and at some faculties - Veterinary Science - enrolments this year have fallen by 35%. Even Umberto Ecoís celebrated DAMS faculty of the arts, music and theatre is losing its appeal.

"It's one thing to look at ourselves and quite another to compare ourselves with others", says Professor Carlo Flamigni, a pioneer of in-vitro fertilization. "Bologna is still excellent, in Italian terms. But that is precisely the point. How stupid is a country that doesn't invest in research and condemns itself to exclusion from everything? Obviously, Bologna suffers from Italy's ills. Take the way researchers are selected. It's all very well for the son of a professor to want to be a professor but a rule that prevents this might be useful.

"And where else do researchers have to ask permission from a priest or a drugs company before they can do research? Who else has a national research council like ours with a cheap-skate funding policy that gives small amounts to everyone so as not to upset anyone? Itís pointless cronyism."

"Two big 'families' run the university of Bologna, the freemasons and Opus Dei. Without them, you don't get any money, any assistants or anything else. I've been here since 1960 and I've never been on a medical faculty committee, where the real power is and they hand out grants. Young people have worked this out and if they go abroad, they don't come back. Good for them. Abroad, they are working with the world's finest intellects. Here, they're in mouse-infested laboratories and they have to put up with it".

The Alma Mater is a bit too "Calma Mater". Professor Pasquino has two jobs in Bologna, one at the Bologna Center of John Hopkins University.

"The two institutes are only 200 meters apart but they're in two different worlds. If a power point presentation won't work, the Americans send me a technician in three minutes to sort it out. Here, I was lecturing this morning and the microphone wasn't working. Obviously, no one came to fix it. I told the students not to cough too much otherwise people at the back wouldn't be able to hear me".

"Hey Professore! How am I supposed to prove Einstein's theory of relativity with a pencil, candle, and a piece of cheese?

Unfortunately, young Italians only have the possibilities of finding unemployment, under-paid work, or emigration when they graduate from our Universities.

Exorbitant fees, incompetent and insufficient teaching staff, third-world study facilities. These are the typical complaints of our University students. It never occurs to them to put down the beers and sangria and revolt against the putrid and corrupt staff recruitment system which is only based formally on merit and plagiarized publications and decisively on favors given to relatives, lovers, friends, whores, friends of friends, and friends and lovers of whores.

In this sense even the most radical student groups are far from being as radical as they think to have any chance of bringing about the necessary changes. Why? Because they're just as corrupt! Their school training and indoctrination from an early age which includes learning how to cheat at exams as early as kindergarten influences them to accept their professor's unethical conduct, cheating and corruption as normal.

Then there's the wonderful world of "raccomandazioni".

The Italian term "raccomandazione" means recommending an unintelligent mule for preferential treatment on the basis of anything but merit.

Within the Italian university system, the power and importance of a professor can be measured by the number of conceited and unreasonable actions he can get away with. An Italian professor will playfully exhibit his power by giving undeserved top grades to an attractive female student or to a complete imbecile he feels sorry for. He will purposely award excessive marks to his own star student or to another student as a favor to someone else. Similarly he will punish a smart student with low marks simply because he doesn't like his ugly face or because he is aggravated or tired after spending time doing...nothing.

Italian professors are at their best and least dangerous when they are reading course textbooks to their students. On medical courses these tend to be authorized translations of reliable foreign (usually English) textbooks where they have not been plagiarized by the medical professors themselves.

"Only In Italy" Subscribe today and you'll discover why the last improvements to Italy were made by Julius Caesar and why it's been downhill ever since!  Click Here to Subscribe!

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