Recipes - Starters

Warm salad with rabbit and leek

Ingredients for 6 persons; 800g of rabbit loin, 80g of pork underbelly, fine salt, black pepper, 50g of hazelnuts, 2dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, mixed aromatic herbs (mint, basil, chive), a few drops of balsamic vinegar, 2 medium-sized leeks, 1 lemon.

Clean the rabbit loin, season with salt and pepper, wrap it with pork underbelly, cut in thin slices and bake into the oven in some water. After cooking, take the underbelly off and wait until it cools. Roughly chop the aromatic herbs and roast the hazelnuts into the oven for a while. Bone the loin and cut in regular fillet. Season with herbs and grated lemon peel. Set the meat out in the dish and cover with leek cut into sticks after pan-frying in oil. Season with salt, pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar, and serve immediately.

Rabbit can be used for several preparations. It can be marinated after boiling. In this case, it is better to warm the marinade up, in order to make it more effective. If preserved in oil, it is better to cut in slices just before service. For stronger palates, leeks can be replaced by fresh row onions.

Ricotta Flan with pan-fried courgettes

Ingredients for 6 persons: 600g of ricotta cheese, 200g of mascarpone, 3 eggs, 80g of grated parmesan, 2 small bunches of basil, nutmeg, fine salt, 2 garlic cloves, 1dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, 50g of pine kernels, a small bunch of parsley, 300g of courgettes.

Beat ricotta cheese together with mascarpone with a wooden ladle in a bowl. Add eggs, the one after the other, mixing up carefully. Season with salt and with 50g of grated Parmesan, then perfume with chopped basil. Oil a rectangular mould, poor the mixture and bake in a bain-marie (150° C). In the meantime, finely chop garlic and parsley and pan-fry with the remaining oil. Add courgettes cut in thin slices, and cook them on a high flame. When they are almost ready, add pine kernel and finish cooking. Remove the ricotta flan from the mould, cut it in cubes and set it out into the dishes. Add courgettes in similar quantity, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

For a lighter product, you can remove mascarpone and use just ricotta cheese. Bake at a lower temperature to avoid rind. The flan can also be baked in single moulds: the time of baking in this case is shorter.

Trout mousse on sliced polenta

Ingredients for 6 persone: 3 medium-sized trouts, rosemary, sage, 2 cloves of garlic, fine salt, black pepper, 200g of potatoes, 3dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, 30g of fine-quality pickled capers. For polenta: 1/2lt of water, 150g of maize flour.

Clean and wash the trouts carefully. Flavour with seasoned salt (a mix of salt, pepper, rosemary and chopped garlic). Slightly oil and bake them in the oven at 150° C, being careful not to overcook the fish or it will be dry. In the meantime, boil the water with some salt. Sprinkle the flour, whisk, and proceed cooking on a low flame, without stirring anymore. When the mixture looks soft and compact, pour on a wooden board, letting it cool and solidify. Remove the skin and the bone from the trouts, and put them through a sieve. Add the potatoes, after having boiled them and put them through a ricer with small holes. Blend the mixture, then whip it using a hand blender, drizzling the paste with oil and softening with water, if necessary. The mixture should be light and frothy. Cut polenta in thick square slices, then grill it or toast into pre-heated hot oven. Spread some mousse on the slices, top with capers and serve immediately.

All types of white fleshy fish are suitable for this recipe. For a more delicate flavour, you can boil the fish with milk. For a stronger taste, you can add some salted anchovies (after cleaning them and removing the bone). Polenta can be seasoned with aromatic herbs.

Aubergine Pie

Ingredients for 6 persons: 600g of aubergines, 300g of buffalo mozzarella, 200g tomato pulp, 2 bunches of basil, oregano, fine salt, black pepper, 2dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, 50g of grated parmesan.

Cut the aubergines in thick slices. Grill them until they look died up. In the meantime, cut mozzarella in slices and season the tomato pulp with salt, pepper, oregano and half of the chopped basil. In a slightly oiled oven pan form 6 different columns, consisting of aubergines, mozzarella, and basil in alternating layers. End up with tomato and bake in oven at 180° C for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve with oil seasoning.

This is a sort of a lighter "melanzane alla parmigiana". As an alternative, you can fry the aubergines, after flouring them. The quantity of mozzarella is essential. The parmesan can also be added with the tomato sauce, in order not to burn it. The same recipe can be made with boiled potatoes.

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