canned [tinned] tomatoes and Catalan picada
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If you open my pantry, you won't find much canned food. There are a few exceptions and I will describe them within the context of the Tin Can Recipes event dedicated to celebrate 200 years of canned food. (If you are interested in the details of the story, this page has a brief description of the relevant events.)
The first exception is tomatoes. Considering that I live in California (the leading producer of tomatoes in the US), I should be able to can my own tomatoes in the summer, right?, but the fact is, I have not yet developed a liking for tomato preservation. This past summer, I did a little bit of roasting and puréeing of tomatoes, which I then froze, but it was a no-pressure enterprise, totally different from the almost industrial operation my mother would set up to bottle tomatoes for the whole year. I am not an industrial operation person: I prefer micro-batches of whatever I am doing.
Once tomato season is over, I switch to organic canned tomatoes from California, the format depending on the recipe I am making. A favorite kind is organic fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. I also use fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Very well, then, I'll admit it: I like roasted tomatoes a lot.
I have written an enthusiastic post about a gift I received in late 2009 from Gattina of Kitchen Unplugged. Thanks to the gift, I learned to make a version of Catalan picada, and the more I make it, the more I like it. Using the picada set Gattina sent me worked for the first realization of a recipe for chicken with Catalan picada. I then adjusted the recipe to use available ingredients.
The original recipe I chose is here: I follow it fairly closely, especially in terms of execution. The following are the adjustments that I made for last Sunday's rendition, which is featured in the two photos below:
- For the first time, I used "4 whole chicken legs, split" from locally raised organic chicken (by Shakefork Community Farm); I had bought them (frozen) at the farmers' market some time ago, knowing I would use them for this dish; however, chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on) are still a great alternative (remember to set aside discarded bones and skin to contribute to the making of light chicken stock)
- Instead of "one 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and finely chopped" I used a 14.5-ounce can of organic fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- Instead of "1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth" I used a cup of my homemade light chicken stock (plus the liquid component of the can of tomatoes)
- Instead of "1/4 cup oloroso sherry" I used 3 tablespoons of vermouth (Martini Bianco) and one tablespoon of water, because I have always liked vermouth and I have it in my pantry
- Instead of "1 slice of peasant bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)" I used 1 ounce of homemade breadcrumbs (pangrattato, also spelled pan grattato), which I obtain by processing pieces of my homemade bread with my grater (I usually toast lightly the bread before putting pieces of it in the grater)
- Instead of "1/4 cup slivered almonds" I used a mix of toasted hazelnuts and toasted blanched almonds (I do both the blanching and the toasting).
- I used a special kind of chocolate not for sale (the story will be told at some point in the future), corresponding to 80% cacao chocolate. I have used chocolate with a cacao contents between 70 and 80% and prefer the highest value.
- Thyme and parsley were again fresh from my little garden (to be precise, I have a parsley jungle, which fortunately does not seem to have been affected by the recent cold weather).
The photo1 shows some of the ingredients and a small bowl of the picada sauce. One of the beauties of this recipe is that I always get some leftover sauce to be reused (more on this really soon). (Note: the chocolate in the photo is not the one I used last Sunday.)
I followed the recipe's instructions, except for step 3, which did not apply, since the almonds and hazelnuts I had were already toasted (I rubbed the hazelnuts slightly to remove the skin) and instead of bread pieces I used my breadcrumbs.
I have said it before and I say it again: this recipe is great. It pairs very well with polenta, as shown in the original post and above. Some of you may notice that the polenta in the photo has an unusual color. Indeed, while the polenta in the original post was made with a mix of cornmeal and what in local stores is sold as polenta (roughly corresponding to Italian polenta bramata, which is coarse), the one in this photo was made with a mix of cornmeal and buckwheat flour, both stone milled from locally grown grains (by Shakefork Community Farm, again). Details will be given in an upcoming post.
A few more words before I conclude. In this context, in scatola means canned (or tinned, in British English). Scatola indicates a container with a lid, so in other contexts it may be translated with "box" (for example, una scatola di cioccolatini is a box of chocolates). Beverages are packaged in lattine (singular: lattina, as in una lattina di Coca Cola). Jarred tomatoes, of which my mother would make some every year, to be used as pizza topping, are pomodori in barattolo. The word scatola is used in a number of expressions, like comperare a scatola chiusa, which means to buy something without seeing it first and checking for its quality (box unopened).
As mentioned above, this is my contribution to the March edition of Tin Can Recipes, a monthly event that will run until the end of this year. The organizers are Ale, Fra, Sere and Paola of Il Giardino degli Aromi and Brii of Briggis recept och ideer and Briiblog in English. The rules for participating are detailed on this page. You are invited to join the event with your recipe (in Italian or in English) that includes one or more canned ingredients.
This post has the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
1 The can of tomatoes in the photo is for information only: it is not an advertisement. I do not have a business relationship with the company referenced.
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Con questo post contribuisco all'evento Tin Can Recipes dedicato alla celebrazione dei 200 anni del cibo in scatola. L'organizzazione dell'evento è di Ale, Fra, Sere e Paola del blog Il Giardino degli Aromi e di Brii che scrive Briggis recept och ideer e Briiblog in English. Le regole per partecipare le trovate su questa pagina.
La ricetta per il pollo con la picada catalana non è mia originale: nel post fornisco il link alla pagina dove è descritta e specifico i cambiamenti che vi ho apportato. La ricetta originale è in inglese e in inglese ho scritto le variazioni che ho apportato a tale ricetta la prima e l'ultima volta che l'ho realizzata.
Il primo post l'ho scritto dopo aver ricevuto in regalo da Gattina di Kitchen Unplugged il kit di ingredienti per preparare la picada catalana. Per le realizzazioni successive ho adattatto la ricetta all'uso di ingredienti disponibili. La ricetta originale la trovate qui: la seguo piuttosto alla lettera, specialmente per quanto riguarda l'esecuzione. Sono pronta ad aiutare chiunque sia interessato alla ricetta e necessiti di consulenza linguistica. Lasciatemi un commento o scrivetemi direttamente a simosite AT mac DOT com.
Questo post contiene il riepilogo dell'evento.
1 La scatola di pomodori nella foto è solo a titolo informativo; non è una pubblicità. Non ho alcun rapporto commerciale con l'azienda in questione.