For the bruschetta, toast 6 or more slices of ciabatta or white sourdough bread, rub lightly with a peeled clove of garlic and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Pepperone e olive (peppers and olives)
Adapted from Carluccio's Complete Italian Food, Quadrille Publishing.
125 ml olive oil
2 each red and yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
2 tablespoons finely chopped black olives
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Fry the peppers in the oil in a sauce pan, stirring from time to time for about 20 minutes or until tender. Add the olives and garlic and fry for a few more minutes before adding the vinegar and cooking briefly until it has evaporated. Add the sugar and salt to taste. Serve warm on the bruschetta. (Serves 6).
Finocchi marinare (grilled marinated fennel)
Adapted from the River Café Cookbook Green, Ebury Press
6 small bulbs fennel with some attached young greenery if possible
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 2 lemons
125 ml extra virgin olive oil
1-2 dried red chillies, deseeded
Preheat the griller or griddle pan
Cut off the tough outer parts, and take a slice off the base of the fennel, and remove and finely chop the young greenery. Cut the bulbs across into 2-3mm slices and carefully place on the grill or griddle pan and cook on both sides for a total of about 10 minutes, or braise gently in olive oil for 15 minutes until tender.
Place on a plate, season with salt and pepper, and pour on the lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over the crumbled dried chilli and scatter with the fennel greenery. Serve warm on the bruschetta. (Serves 6).