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Curiosities

A lifelong trip wouldn’t be enough to discover every traditional dish of the Apulian cuisine, with its Apulian vegetables and the local products of this sun-kissed land, where earth and see hug themselves and give as a gift well-known delicacy worldwide appreciated.

The Apulian cuisine actually lives on delicacies composed of simple dishes.

it’s not just handmade pasta: several horticultural varieties hold the stage of the local culinary tradition, such as olives, almonds, wine and table grapes.

Not to mention sea products, shellfish and rockfish on the Adriatic side, mussels of different kinds on the Ionic side. You’re spoiled for choice.

However, we want to focus on what surely represents a must-have ingredient of every healthy Mediterranean cuisine: the Apulian vegetables. From such a fertile land could only be born such a florid and genuine vegetation.

 

Apulian vegetables: nutritional values and conditions of use

Among the most popular Apulian vegetables there certainly are the turnip greens. These ones are so rich of mineral salts, especially phosphor and iron and other vitamins important for the proper functioning of our organism such as vitamin A, B2 and C.

These excellent Apulian vegetables boast considerable antioxidants and antiseptics properties that contribute to the organism depuration, especially in the season change. 

In the DOC Apulian vegetables group, you can also find the eggplant, the queen of the Italian tables, so diuretic, since they’re made of 93% of water. These ones boast a decent percentage of potassium, vitamins, calcium but, on the contrary, a miserable quantity of fats (0,1%).

Pumpkins, broad beans and chicories are holding the stage as leader ingredients of the tradition, that are all supporters of heart, blood vessels, intestine and skin. 

These vegetables are not only used to create simple dishes destined to vegetarians, on the contrary they have various uses that enable to use them as a light seasoning for the first dishes and, in particular with orecchiette and cavatelli- obviously not just with them.

 

Apulian vegetables: tips about preservation

The Apulian vegetables are not always welcomed by the little ones.

But how taking them out this mine of naturalness and health?

There’s a way to make them welcomed, that is make them appear curious and fanciful.

It is possible garnish them with food that is more welcomed by the little ones or, for example, make them in soups, so that they have a disguised look. In this way the following recipes could help the cause.

But first, some little tips to best preserve Apulian vegetables.

It is possible keep them in the fridge for 5-6 days too, what matters is not to wash them.

Freezing Apulian vegetables is also possible: it’s a very simple and fast procedure that, if accurately accomplished, will allow to keep all of its flavor even for a year-long.

In most of the cases the frozen Apulian vegetables keep intact their nutritional values, flavor and color, certainly better than the vacuum-packed or the canned food.

There’s no need of particular tool to freeze Apulian vegetables, as it occurs for all other vegetables; you only need a big and spacious pot, a colander to drain the vegetables, a bowl to put the vegetables into after the cooking and bags suitable for the freezing process or flip-tops. That’s all.

Vegetables preparation to freeze

Vegetables you want to be frozen must to be fresh and not too ripe; potential dents must be absolutely removed. Wash Apulian vegetables with accuracy before going on with the making. Vegetables must be cleaned up by cutting away the inedible and robust parties, as we should prepare to serve them.

Blanch according to the time required by each kind of vegetable before you freeze them.

Bigger vegetables as eggplants and pumpkins must be washed and sliced pretty much big, based on the use is expected to have, in more or less thin slices before you blanch them. Then pack the vegetables so they’re ready to be frozen.

Put the label writing the packaging date and content.

This little device can be very useful: as far as it can be insignificant, this procedure will avoid you to waste time searching in the freezer from time to time and risk of taking off the freezer the wrong vegetable.

 

Apulian vegetables: recipes

Since today the market gives you the occasion to find Apulian vegetables easily and almost in every season, why don’t you dedicate yourself to the preparation of healthy and simple dishes for the entire family?

Today these vegetables can be found in every supermarket and grocery stores.

There go some suggestions:

Broad bean and chicories soup

Broad bean and chicories soup, these ultimate Apulian vegetables, is a typical dish made of poor ingredients of the Apulian farm tradition.

Ingredients:

  • 800 gr of dry broad beans
  • 500 gr of wild chicories
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • Some little tomatoes
  • Oil and salt q.s.

Preparation

  1. Soak the broad beans in tepid water for few hours.
  2. After you wash, put and cook them with abundant water together with onion, celery, carrot and lastly, little tomatoes cut in two.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and keep cooking until it will become a purée that eventually, according to the single tastes, could be blended.
  4. Clean up the chicories aside and plentifully wash under water.
  5. Salt the water, let the chicories cook.
  6. At the end, put together the purée with the chicories or, as you prefer, put the broad beans purée on one hand and the chicories one on the other. Season the dish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Apulian eggplants rolls

No one- children included- would resist to these tempting rolls made of Apulian vegetables to eat in a bite!

If you have vegetarian guests or vegetables-lovers and not meat-lovers, here you find a recipe that is anything but an alternative.

These Mediterranean rolls are very gluttonous, soft and tasty, suitable for lunch and dinner and, moreover, in each season.

Ingredients for 15 rolls

  • 300 gr eggplants
  • 150 gr of ham
  • 150 gr of cow cheese
  • 150 gr tomato sauce
  • Extra virgin olive oil and salt q.s.

Preparation

  1. Wash and dry the eggplants, cut them long to obtain 15 slices about 2 mm thick and make them macerate with a bit of salt to make it less bitter.
  2. Put the eggplant slices on a baking tray and bake them at 150°-180° for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce cooking the tomatoes with a bit of oil and water.
  4. Create some cow cheese slices of the same thickness of the eggplants.
  5. Put the rolls together by placing a slice of eggplant, ham and a pair of cow cheese slices interchanging them at will.
  6. Roll each eggplant slice on itself and keep going on until every ingredient gets used up.
  7. Suffuse the obtained rolls with the tomato sauce previously prepared and pass them by the oven always at 180° for about 5-6 minutes, not more, then put on the grill at 220° and bake them for others 2-3 minutes max.

 

Gratin baked cardoons

In the typical Apulian cuisine, that always puts its vegetables under the spotlight of its ingredients, there is a second course, one of the richest and tempting dishes, is that of the cardoons gratin. Children appreciate this simple and genuine dish too!

An original and tasty way of serving them is make them gratin, so crunchy and gluttonous.

Often underestimated, cardoons represent a product which is characteristics of cold seasons and rich not only of nutritional values, but also of resources, considering that after an accurate cleaning and an adequate cooking they become the ideal basis for dishes of great and surprising taste.

Ingredients

  • 500 gr of cardoons
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Bread crumbs q.s.
  • Sheep’s milk cheese
  • A clove of garlic
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. Properly clean the cardoons by accurately removing the tough filaments, wash them and add some lemon juice.
  2. Boil them in salted water until they become tender.
  3. Grease a baking tray with a bit of oil on which you will put the cardoons creating a homogeneous layer. Sprinkle some dusted bread crumbs, sheep’s milk cheese, garlic and parsley on it.
  4. In a bowl aside beat the eggs with little salt and pepper.
  5. Pour this mixture on the cardoons so that they are completely covered by it.
  6. Transfer them in an already warm oven, at 180° and let them bake until you see a crunchy golden crust on the surface.
  7. Apulia places itself at national level as the region with the bigger turnip greens production that not without reason, it is included in the regional traditional product list but, as we can see, there are so many Apulian vegetables we can use for our cooking preparations.
  8. With a bit of love and fantasy for well-done things, vegetables will never be so ordinary…
  9. Enjoy your meal!

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