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.
Although 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.
Step-1: Pre-heat oven to 200°C/395°F.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step-9: Turn peppers over after 4 min. and cook the other side for 4 min.; remove and plate the tomatoes.
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)
Step-13: Arrange thin cut boneless chicken breasts down on the griddle
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.
Step-17: Sprinkle the chopped fresh parsley over entire platter and serve.
Step-18: BUON APETITO!
Recommended Wine Pairing: Pinot Nero DOC – Maculan Azienda Vinicola – Breganze (VI), Italy
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.
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.
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.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images