One day we drove to San Gemini to visit an art gallery. By the time we arrived, the gallery had closed, so we walked around the town, fairly deserted around 1:30 pm, with stores closed and people having lunch. I like to listen to our steps echo along narrow streets, and to turn tight corners wondering what lies in wait around them.
A sign declares San Gemini's membership to the Cittaslow network. The top portion says: Benvenuti a San Gemini Città Slow (Welcome to San Gemini Slow City). At the end of our walk, my husband drank un caffè, while I sipped my daily cappuccino, then we drove to our next destination.
I came back from Italy with a desire to spend some quality time in my kitchen. First there was the shopping for groceries at the Berkeley Bowl, then the planning of what to make. For both fagiolini (snap beans) and peperoni (bell peppers) we are approaching the end of the season, so I felt I needed to take advantage of their presence on the shelves. By adding some lovely cipolline (pearl onions) to red peppers and green beans, I obtained a white, red and green salad, the colors of the Italian flag (bianco, rosso e verde). The red bell peppers were complemented by some red cipolline. Since the ingredients of the salad are cooked separately in different ways and then brought together, this can be thought of as a "slow" salad.
As I have written here, I like my fagiolini boiled until they are pretty soft, and as I have detailed here, I like my peperoni roasted. I dropped the cipolline in boiling water and left them there for a couple of minutes, then drained them and let them cool briefly before slipping off their skin. I sprayed a small frying pan with olive oil and sautéd the cipolline for a few minutes. This is something I had never done before and I liked both the process and its result.
Finally, I put in the same bowl the fagiolini, the peperoni, chopped, and the cipolline, cut in half. I seasoned the vegetables with the usual, though never boring, olive oil and balsamic vinegar combination, plus some salt and freshly-ground black pepper, all to taste. The quantities used were: a pound of fagiolini, two small peperoni and half a pound of cipolline. The symphony of textures was soft (fagiolini), crunchy (cipolline) soft (peperoni). The result was simple and satisfying, a lingering link to a summer fast fading away.
This is my entry for the October edition of the lovely event My Legume Love Affair - Fourth Helping, brainchild of Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted this month by Sra of When My Soup Came Alive.
Here is the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the cartolina da San Gemini: insalata tricolore audio file [mp3].