In the interior of Le Marche, meat – especially in the form of salumi, is a favorite, but along the eastern coast fish and seafood is just as popular. You will find the day’s catch is often turned into a soup or simply cooked in sauces flavored with white wine.
Artichokes and cauliflowers are among Le Marche’s most revered vegetables, while the region’s olives and olive oil rank among the best in Italy. We have included a sampling recipes that will make meatless Fridays a day to look forward to!
A perfect accompaniment for fish, these fried vegetables also make a great antipasto before Sunday dinner.
- 3 oz of 00 flour
- 1 egg white
- 2 oz of extra virgin olive oil
- 12 asparagus spears
- 8 broccoli stems
- 4 baby zucchini, halved lengthways
- 1/2 red onion, sliced into petals
- 4 baby artichokes, halved
- vegetable oil, for deep frying
- flaky sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, egg white and oil with enough warm water to achieve a smooth batter consistency. Add a pinch of salt and place in the fridge while you prepare your vegetables
Heat a deep-fryer or pan of oil to 350°F. Once the oil is hot enough, dip the vegetables into the batter, covering them completely, then carefully place in the oil. Fry only a few pieces at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry until a pale golden color and crisp all over. Remove from the oil using metal tongs or a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Verdicchio con Spaghettini e Cozze
Le Marche is known for the wine it produces, especially white wines made from the pecorino grape. It takes its name from the sheep (pecore) who used to graze on it. The grape originated in the hills of Fermo and is an early ripening variety producing a fine white wine.
- 1 lb spaghettini
- 3-1/2 lb mussels, scrubbed and bearded
- 2-1/2 cups Verdicchio wine
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp pureed tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
The mussels should be cooked in a single layer; if necessary use two pots or cook the mussels in batches in the wine. Place a large heavy pot over high heat; when the pot is extremely hot, carefully add the mussels and the wine. Cover tightly and cook just until the mussels open. Remove from the heat and pour the mussels into a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid. Set the mussels aside. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.
Shell half of the mussels, adding the meat to the cooking liquid. Discard the empty shells and any mussels that did not open. Set the remaining mussels aside. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
Place the garlic in a large sauté pan with the olive oil. Bring to a simmer over low flame and cook for about one minute or just until garlic is soft and translucent. Watch carefully to make sure it does not color at all. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Just before the pasta is done, add all of the mussels and their cooking liquid to the pan with the tomatoes and olive oil and simmer gently for 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta well in a colander and shake to remove excess water. Add the pasta to the mussel sauce and stir gently. Add the parsley. Serve the pasta on a warm plate, spooning the sauce and mussels over the spaghettini.
All along the coast of Le Marche you will find brodetto, a fish stew that has played a leading role among the region’s cuisine. A variety of seafood is used and varies in the recipe according to what is available at the market. Generally, at least five different ones are used in the recipe, which may include cuttlefish, shellfish, shrimp, codfish, mullet, sole, flounder, scorpionfish and squid.
- 3 lb seafood, varied
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4 oz white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Italian bread, toasted
- extra virgin olive oil
Clean the fish thoroughly and fillet. Clean the cuttlefish and squid and cut into desired size and form. Clean the shellfish.
Pour five tablespoons of oil into a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion, sauté over a medium flame until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Simmer with the white wine vinegar and add the parsley. Add tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook over a low flame for 15 minutes. Next, add the seafood, starting with the cuttlefish. Cook alone for 15 minutes, then add the shrimp, followed by the rest of the mix, except for any codfish and sole, which must be added last. Cook for another 15 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes.
Place slices of toasted Italian bread and top with the brodetto. Serve immediately.
Medaglione di Aragosta con Pomodori e Cipolle
This is a dish that speaks for itself! With succulent lobster, tomatoes and onions, it is easy to prepare and far from ordinary.
- 6 lb lobster
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 onions
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- salt and pepper
Cook the lobsters in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Remove the meat from shells and cut into cubes. Set aside. Remove coral and green matter from the lobsters’ heads and put in a bowl; mix in oil, mustard and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Blend until a creamy sauce is obtained.
Cut the onions into thin slices and soak in salted water. After 10 minutes, drain and dry the slices. Cut the tomatoes into pieces and combine them with the onion. Arrange the lobster meat on a serving dish with the onions and tomatoes on top. Cover with sauce and serve.