Nestled among the sun-drenched olive groves of Puglia, Italy, Masseria Potenti is a family run hotel where food is always a cause for celebration. We were inspired by the way owner Maria served up mouth-wateringly good Mediterranean meals for her guests, lovingly made with a field-to-fork approach, for a real alfresco feast each evening. Here, Maria shares some of her favourites to give us a true taste of Italy back home.
Traditional Pugliese salad
A rainbow-bright bowl of salad is the perfect serve-yourself pick for the centre of the table. Laden with jewel-like pomegranate seeds and colourful vegetables, Maria’s simple but delicious side salad works as an accompaniment to plenty of savoury dishes.
10 cherry tomatoes
1 raw cauliflower
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A pinch of pepper
- Wash and dry the salad before placing in a large bowl.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and peppers, then toss into the salad bowl with the pomegranate seeds.
- To make the citronette dressing, dissolve a pinch of salt in lemon juice, add the olive oil, a pinch of pepper, stir well and drizzle over the salad before serving.
Fava-bean mash with seasonal vegetables
A perfect option for vegetarians, the broad beans in this dish ensure it’s still protein-rich, while the mix of textures and vibrant vegetables make it a statement on your table. Serve in our large Le Creuset casserole dish and let your guests plate up.
200g dried broad beans
1 potato, cubed
1 red onion
1kg wild chicory
300g friarelli peppers
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 white celery hearts, sliced
A dozen cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Let the broad beans soak overnight; drain and cook them in a pot (using 1 litre of salty water) along with the chopped potato. Simmer for two hours, stirring frequently and adding more boiling water if needed. Remove from the heat once it has been reduced to a mash.
- Peel and slice the onion into thin rings, then place into a bowl of iced water, which helps them to become sweeter.
- Wash, then cook the chicory for 10-15 minutes, until it is tender, and then remove from the heat and let it cool.
- Slice the peppers and aubergine before adding them to a frying pan with plenty of hot oil, for seven to eight minutes. When they are golden, remove from the heat and lay them onto kitchen paper to remove excess oil, before sprinkling with salt and pepper.
- Present the bean mash, cooked vegetables, sliced celery, tomatoes and onions together in a large serving dish. Garnish with black olives, a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.
A simple side dish that’s packed full of Mediterranean flavour, this three-ingredient recipe really brings out the distinctive zest of artichokes and is a great small plate.
8 small artichokes
Salt to taste
- Choose very tender artichokes, then clean and remove their hard outer leaves.
- Cut the artichokes in half. Then bake for five minutes at 180°C/gas 4.
- Remove from the oven and season with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt.
Fresh tomato friselle
A tasty variation on bruschetta, this antipasti looks impressive served on our olive-wood sharing boards, and also makes a great canapé for more casual garden gatherings.
Friselle (slices of durum wheat bread – available at Italian delis or world-food sections of supermarkets)
Extra-virgin olive oil
- Wet the friselle for one minute in a bowl of room-temperature water. Remove from the water when the surface feels slightly softened but the base feels intact.
- Place the friselle on a serving board and season with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and salt.
- Squeeze the cherry tomatoes above the friselle and rub them well onto the rough surface. Add another drizzle of oil and spread the tomatoes evenly onto each friselle.
- Garnish with oregano for a simple – yet delicious – bite, or add interest with wild rucola leaves, artichokes, aubergines, cucumbers or raw-red onion.
Fresh fig cake
Round off your gathering with something sweet that will ensure guests leave feeling satisfied, not over-full. The fresh figs atop this cake look as good as they taste.
100g butter, softened
100g granulated sugar
2 medium eggs
1 lemon peel
1 pinch of salt
150g plain flour
50g almond flour
10g baking soda
45g whole milk
2 tbsp cane sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3 and grease your cake tin.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, until fluffy.
- Use an electronic whisk to beat the eggs until well built, then add the grated lemon zest and a pinch of salt.
- In a separate bowl, sift the plain flour, almond flour and baking soda together, then add one spoonful at a time into the beaten-egg mixture, continuing to whisk while you do so.
- Slowly add the milk, folding it into the dough until fully absorbed, before pouring the mixture into your cake tin.
- Peel and chop the figs, then scatter over the top of your raw cake, until the surface is covered.
- Sprinkle the surface with cane sugar and then bake for 40-45 minutes.
- When ready, the surface will have a lovely golden-amber colour. To check if it is fully cooked through, poke a toothpick in the centre and, if it comes out clean, take it out of the oven.
- Let the cake cool and garnish with more figs and icing sugar, as desired.
SHOP THE STORY
Serve in style with the same pieces Maria used to plate up her delicious dishes.