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Italian food is one of the most famous gastronomic options in the world. Practically in all the countries of the globe there are Italian restaurants or, at least, restaurants where they serve some of the best-known dishes of the transalpine gastronomy. And surely, you have also fallen into the temptation to play it safe and ordered a plate of pasta or a pizza. Yes, we know that there are a lot of different pasta recipes and pizza types, but today we want to go a little further to find other traditional dishes of Italian food, as rich as these and much healthier.

In addition, one of the things that highlights Italian food is usually for its splendid colour, which not only makes it palatable to taste, but also enormously attractive to the eye. And what a more attractive colour than the live red of tomatoes, an essential ingredient of transalpine gastronomy.

For instance, pomodori, as they call it, is so rich, healthy and versatile that with a bit of elaboration you can finish a good healthy dish, like the first of the ones presented here and that is usually taken as a starter, or antipasto.

Keep in mind that here you will have delicious dishes from all kinds of cuisines coming together with an excellent environment for eating and having a great soirée. We are located in 118 Norton Street, Leichhardt, Sydney. If you want to make a reservation you can call at: (02) 9560 7957 and we will be happy to have you within our guests for another wonderful night at At Fernando’s.

Cooking bruschettes

The bruschette or, also known as, Spanish bruschetta, are basically bread cut into strips more or less thin and toasted, on which you can put many ingredients, to suit each one. And what we propose as a refreshing starter are bruschetta with tomato, which are also very easy to make. To do this, cut some ripe tomatoes into tiny cubes and season them with olive oil, salt, pepper and some chopped basil leaves. The ideal thing is to let it rest or put it a little while covered in the fridge.

Meanwhile, we cut the bread and toasted it in the oven. There are people who do it with a little olive oil, or rubbing a little garlic, but we leave that to your liking. There are also people who bake them with cheese, but in our case, we are going to opt for a less forceful and more refreshing version for the heats that come.

And, once the bread is in its point, you only have to remove it and place the seasoned tomato on it. Is there someone who does not like this?

Aubergines

Another product that is also widely used in the most traditional Italian food is aubergines. And with them you can make a lot of classic recipes, those that were made in the house of the grandmother (the nonna) and that many yearn to recover. In the north, for example, eggplant meatballs (polpette di melanzane) are very typical, which were once considered a poor dish, although we can define their flavor with the antonym of this adjective. For this, as easy as boiling the aubergines until they are tender and let them cool. Then, mix the pulp of eggplant with egg, bread, salt, pepper and, if you like (before it was possible), a little Parmesan. Once the meatballs are cooked, they are baked and ready to eat! Of course, in addition to aubergines can be made with zucchini or beans and also give them an individualised touch with some spice like parsley, oregano or thyme.

The nutritive Sicilian caponata and the Sarde a Beccafico

For its part, in southern Italy, a paradigmatic example of Mediterranean cuisine, we find another traditional dish based on aubergines: the Sicilian caponata. Here the aubergines are combined with celery, tomato, onion, capers, olives and garlic, cooked all with oil (little, so they are not hard) and, once it is ready, finish with sugar and vinegar, which gives a characteristic bittersweet flavour that can be addictive. This rich dish can be eaten as garnish or on a few slices of toast, and is both hot and cold, to the taste of each one.

Without leaving the South or moving away from traditional gastronomy and staying true to nutritious and healthy foods, we now go with a recipe that many of you do not know and that, once you see what it is, you will be willing to try. Of course, it requires a little more elaboration and skill than the previous ones, but we guarantee absolute success: sarde a beccafico.

We will need some sardines open and very clean, without the head or thorns, breadcrumbs, juice and the grated rind of a lemon, the same as half an orange, anchovies, raisins, pine nuts, salt, a little bit of sugar, black pepper and olive oil.

You have to chop the anchovies with the raisins and the pine nuts, and then mix them with the crumb of bread, the juice and the lemon and orange zest, the pepper and the sugar touch. This mixture, which is better not to make it too chopped or homogeneous, you have to put it in the form of balls in the sardines, then roll them with the help of some sticks and, finally, bake them for about a quarter of an hour. As you can imagine, the result is spectacular, both visually and on the palate and, so you can see that we are not exaggerating, we tell you that this recipe is officially recognised as a Traditional Agri-Food Product by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

Now, with these little suggestions, we are sure you’ll have a little idea of all that Italian cuisine can offer, as rich in products and varieties as almost any other. It’s just a matter of diving a little deeper into the menus of restaurants and traditional recipes to discover surprising and nutritious dishes that delight almost all the senses.

Aren’t you hungry yet? Well, you know, both on your next trip to Italy and on your next visit to an Italian restaurant, or even if you want to surprise your guests at the next family reunion. However, if you want to try some delicious Italian dishes cooked by professionals, you have to visit At Fernando’s to taste some of the most delicious dishes in the city.