Monday, March 5, 2012

Seafood in Anzio

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were finally able to go on a real date together. We chose as our destination the seaport of Anzio, about 12 miles from our home. Anzio is historically significant as it is the harbor where US troops and their allies landed during WWII to fight off Germans and Italians. We came here before for Gelato with our kids, but we were eager to try a small seafood restaurant that was recommended to us: La Fraschetta del Mare.

The restaurant offers a fixed-price menu (16 euros/person, which is not bad for seafood), which varies from time to time depending on what fish they can buy in the morning from the fishermen returning with their catch. It is located right on the harbor so you know they don't have to go far to get fresh fish. The type of cooking is based on the concept of Pesce Povero (poor fish), which means that this is not the top of the line seafood, but it is mostly whatever get trapped in the fishermen's net. However, if cooked properly, this also can be very tasty and presented well.

The eating experience include three courses: appetizers, a main dish, and a second dish. Drinks are extra (but we were lucky that the cashier did not have exact change so he gave us a nice discount and we ended up paying 15 euros each including drinks). Everyone gets the same things and this should make it for quick service and low prices. The place is small and quite popular so you are pretty much sitting elbow to elbow with other customers. Our appetizers included a small piece of fried polenta with a topping of black olives and anchovies, a cod meatball, couscous with a tomato and fish sauce and a small fish salad with fresh fennel and oranges.
Next they served us some pasta with tomato sauce and shellfish (shrimp, mussels, and clams). It was pretty tasty and it helped fill us up. The last dish included three small deep fried fishes, bruschetta with cod and tomato sauce, and some fish with zucchini that I can't remember the name.

Overall, it was a pleasant surprise and we will probably come back. It is definitely not a five star restaurant, but the price was adequate and we had plenty to eat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Carciofi alla Romana (Roman Artichokes)

We have moved to Italy a month ago. It has been a really busy time during the past year and so and I neglected my food blog. I guess I had a million excuses for doing that... but for heaven's sake... WE ARE IN ITALY NOW! The world-capital of delicious food. I don't have any more excuses. Wherever I go, whatever I eat is worth building a lasting memory. So, here I am again... after a long silence, I am ready to repent from the slack and resume my food journal. And since we now live in Rome, what better start than the original CARCIOFI ALLA ROMANA?

Roman artichokes are smaller and with no thorns. They are rounder and I would also say they might be a little more tender. We bought ten of them for 5 euros from a guy selling them from a truck parked on the side of the road. I would think this recipe would work for any kind of artichoke.

1. Fresh whole artichokes
2. Fresh parsley
3. Fresh garlic
4. Olive oil
5. Chicken broth
6. White wine (optional)

Remove a couple layers of outer leaves and cut about 1/4-1/2 inch from the top. Roll the artichokes on a hard surface until they become a little more lose and tender, enough to stuff them in the middle. Chop the fresh parsley and mince the garlic. Mix them and stuff a spoonful inside each artichoke. In a large pan, place oil, broth, and wine. Place each artichoke face down in the pan, cover and cook at low/medium heat until artichokes are tender (use a fork to poke them). Enjoy!