SoCal patio | ©Tom Palladio ImagesPrior to my life as an expat in search of la dolce vita here in Italy, I lived for 20 years in Southern California.

Weather, for the most part, was always sunny and warm, and that meant eating out most nights on the patio, thanks to a workhorse of a gas grill.

When I got the green light to return to the Bel Paese I sold the house, and the kitchen, hardly used because of the “head chef” outside, looked almost brand new.

Gone, but not forgotten, is that gas grill and all the great tasting meals the hot ceramic briquettes below brought to life above.

Chicken on the grill | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAlthough my Italian apartment has a good-sized terrace, perfect for a “barbie,” I’ve opted to say indoors — at least for now — when I put on the apron; but I do get the opportunity now and then to recreate some of those dishes I used to plate in SoCal. And I do it all on a new workhorse: a 9 1/2″ x 13 1/2 ” cooktop griddle.

Made of cast aluminum, la bistecchiera (griddle) is teflon coated for easy cleaning and comes with a foldable wooden handle for easy storage, too.

If you’ll grab a pair of flip-flops and an apron, Lazy Person, my short-order cook alter ego, will show you how to “hang ten” in the galley — in only 20 min. — with this quick-‘n’ easy INDOOR mixed grilled platter fit for a Southern California, or Northern Italy, sunset.

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Pollo e Verdure all griglia | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Pre-heat oven to 200°C/395°F.

Season French Fries/Chips with Salt and optional Garlic Powder  French Fries/Chips into the oven they go

 Step-2: Cover an oven tray with parchment paper and spread out two servings of frozen shoestring potatoes. Season with salt and garlic powder. Place tray in oven and bake for 18 min. or until golden brown.

Cored bell pepper | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-3: Rinse and pat dry bell peppers (red or yellow, not green) and cherry tomatoes. Core and slice peppers in half and then in half again. Slice the tomatoes in half.

Fresh parsley waiting to be chopped

Step-4: Rinse and dry fresh parsley, chop finely and put aside until Step-17.

Step-5: Pre heat cooktop griddle. Fire up to HIGH, reducing flame until it no longer appears along the outside of the griddle. About 1 min.

Arrange peppers and tomatoes on the grill | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-6: Arrange the peppers down the middle of the grill and the tomatoes along the two sides.

Step-7: Turn tomatoes over after 2 min.

Step-8: Coat a large platter dish with extra-virgin olive oil, season with sea salt and 10 cranks of the black pepper mill and stir covering entire platter.

Peppers and tomatoes on the grill | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-9: Turn peppers over after 4 min. and cook the other side for 4 min.; remove and plate the tomatoes.

Plated peppers and tomatoes | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-10: After 4 min. plate the peppers alongside the tomatoes

Step-11: Turn off heat underneath griddle, douse immediately with a glass of cold water. Wait one minute, rinse in sink under cold water, towel dry and return to the stove.

Step-12: Pre-heat griddle (just like in Step-3)

Thinly sliced boneless chicken breasts | ©Tom Palladio Images  Chicken breasts on the grill | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-13: Arrange thin cut boneless chicken breasts down on the griddle

Chicken breasts on the grill | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-14: Turn after 1-2 min., when meat has golden brown griddle marks, continue cooking other side 1-2 min.

Step-15: Plate the chicken breasts on the platter with peppers and tomatoes.

Step-16: Remove potatoes from the oven, plate onto the platter with chicken, peppers and tomatoes.

Plated checken, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes | ©Tom palladio Images  On the table - Buon Apetito! | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-17: Sprinkle the chopped fresh parsley over entire platter and serve.

Step-18: BUON APETITO!

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Recommended Wine Pairing: Pinot Nero DOCMaculan Azienda Vinicola – Breganze (VI), Italy

Maculan bottling  Maculan glasses

For three generations, the Maculan family brand has been selecting and vinifying the best grapes grown in the hills overlooking Breganze. A small jewel of a village at the foot of the pre-Alps in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, Breganze’s relatively mild climate and rich soil are ideal for the cultivation of olives and grapes.

Maculan Pinot Nero DOC | ©Tom Palladio Images  Maculan Pinot Nero DOC | ©Tom Palladio Images

A 100% varietal wine, Maculan Pinto Nero DOC is light ruby-red in color.  In the glass it bursts forth with fine aromas of red berries and underbrush. On the palate, it’s well balanced with interwoven notes of wild forest fruit and spices.

Raviolini in Butter & Sage | ©Tom Palladio Images  Grilled pollo and Pinot Nero | ©Tom Palladio Images

Extremely versatile, Maculan Pinot Nero DOC pairs well with a variety of first and second courses — from stuffed or baked pastas, to grilled meats and poultry, to aged cheeses. I highly recommend this bottle alongside homemade flatbread pizzas, too. What can I say.

SALUTE!

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

The Palladian Traveler's Borsalino over cobblestone | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 49 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

12 comments

    1. Meredith — The “goodness” is at the bottom of the platter: olive oil, salt and pepper. Just move the chicken and veggies around so that everything is well coated. The only think I would add is a drizzle of fresh lemon on top of the chicken, but I didn’t have any in the ice-a-box when I whipped this dish up. This is pretty simple, straight-forward grub that you readily find during the summer months over here in local kitchens, and in SoCal, too — at least at my house. 🙂

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