About Napoli gulf cuisine… and a recipe

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At the end of the wonderful week end in Procida just two words about the cuisine that is common across the Gulf of Napoli with a few variations. Like in the whole south region, but probably a little bit more here, the courses have a little of Arabic flavor: spices not very common in the rest of Italy are used in many dishes in the south. And Procida, maybe because island, maybe because of thousand men who sailed the seas uses them more.

Think about cinnamon, cocoa, dried raisin. Probably in the rest of Italy you won’t find dried raisin in meatballs or with endive. Well this is southern food. At least the tradional one. But as everywhere in the world these usage are not very common nowadays.

If you visit Procida you will find easily specialties, made with the latest culinary trends.

Many of the traditional courses are quite impossible to make nowadays, some of local ingredients  – as for instance “erba corallina”  – are not easy to be found anymore. The “erba corallina” is a kind of reddish seaweed that were used with garlic, olive oil, lemon and mint to make a side dish. In the mean time since this erb has vermifuge properties, it was used in the past for this purpose as well.

Today the sea, even if clear ad clean, is very crowded and the “erba corallina” is quite difficoult to find.

Not to forget that the palate that has changed all over the world during the years so many flavors that used to be appreciated today would be too strong. Besides, many of these popular recipes were fruit of poverty and agricoltural or fishing economy.

However in many houses of Procida – and in the whole Napoli gulf – still today you can find on the tables very simple course as “Vermicelli con le cicale”, “Calamari ripieni” or “pizza di scarole”. Some of them are still made in restaurants all over the gulf.

So the secret to have a real full immersion is to write down the tradional specialties and to ask for them. Who knows? Maybe it’s your lucky day and they serve it!

As a  gift for you here is an old recipe you can easily make at home to reproduce or dream the real southern taste.

Stuffed Calamari (or “Calamari ‘mbuttunati” as locals call them) for 6 people

  • 6 Calamari (it depend from the size: if bigger less if smaller more)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 handfull white smooth bread soaked with milk
  • 1 table spoon of dried raisin and pine nuts
  • 2 spicchi garlic
  • 1 table spoon of parsley
  • salt, pepper as you like
  • half glass of white wine
  • 2 peeled tomatoes
  • 1 glass (not really full) olive oil
Some frequent ingredients
Some frequent ingredients

Clean the Calamari without cutting their “body”. They need to be whole because they have to be stuffed.

In a pan cut the tentacles and then add the bread (after squeazing out the soaking milk), the raisin, the pine nuts, minced parsley and garlic and the eggs that you have previously stirred as you would to make an omelette. Add salt, pepper and a little of the olive oil. Stir. When you see the egg is almost to be done the stuff is ready. Using a teaspoon,  stuff the Calamari and then close them with toothpicks.

Slightly fry the garlic in olive oil until it’s light brown; make sure you do not overcook it. After that put the Calamari in the pan. Soak them with the wine, add the tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes with low flame.

The Calamari are done and you can use the sauce to make a typical spaghetti dish. If you like, grind some black pepper on it and parsley to decorate.

Sorry we don’t have “fresh” picture for it, but we can work on it!

Enjoy and … Buon appetito!

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