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Have you ever been to Sardinia? Chances are we are not going to make it there this summer unfortunately, but we can still have a culinary getaway by learning about Sardinian cuisine and trying some of the traditional (and meat-free) Sardinian dishes.
The whole of Italy is a magical but Sardinia is magical but with extra sparkles, if you know what I mean. They even have their own language: Sardo. The Caribbean-like beaches and the its caves
are some of the most beautiful in Europe. Much of the island’s arable land is devoted to cereal cultivation and fruit growing. Sheep and goats are widely raised. Wheat, barley, grapes, olives, cork, and tobacco are produced. Fishing for tuna, lobster, and sardines is important.
Sardinia’s food culture is divided into food from the land and food from the sea because of the differences in its geographic landscapes throughout the island, spacing from the coastline to the ragged mountains of the interior. The Sardinian cuisine is considered part of the Mediterranean diet. Perhaps this is why the island hosts the world’s highest concentration of people over 100 years old.
Goats and sheep cheese, cured meat, pig and lamb meat, seafood, pasta dishes – but predominantly meat and cheese. This is because on of the most traditional occupations on the island was (and still is) sheep farming.
But they also eat lots of meat-free dishes like the traditional culurgiones (home-made dumpling pasta stuffed with delicious mint-flavoured potato cream. Normally it is served with fresh tomato sauce and basil or with butter and sage). Or fregola cooked with vegetables (fregola is similar to cous cous, but with more of a bite to it as its “pearls” are much bigger and it’s made from semolina).
Here’s 5 meat-free Sardinian dishes from Gino D’Acampo, the author of several best-selling books. Gino’s bestsellers alongside a wide range of discount vegetarian & vegan cookery books are available at The Works.
So let’s see 5 meat-free, Sardinian recipes you can make at home:
1. INSALATA DI FREGOLA CON OLIVE, SCORZA D’ARANCIA ED ERBETTE: FREGOLA SALAD WITH OLIVES, ORANGE ZEST & FRESH HERBS
This is a super simple recipe, all you have to do is cook the fregola in salted water and combine them with sliced olives, garlic, marjoram, mint and orange zest. Add some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Great antipasti!
Freshly grated pecorino cheese is the only special ingredient in this recipe, the rest can be surely found in your pantry. Simply peel thin strips from the courgettes, then slice them into matchsticks. Salt them, rinse them, squeeze out any excess moisture with your hands. Make a batter of flour, egg sparkling water. Stir in the pecorino, paprika, mint, oregano and salt. Gently fold the courgettes into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into hot oil and fry. Delicious.
3. FRISCIOLAS: SAFFRON & POTATO DOUGHNUTS WITH VODKA & ORANGE
Carnival celebrations in Sardinia wouldn’t be the same without frisciolas! To make them, simply cook the potatoes and mash them. Add some saffron to warm milk and make the though combining it with potatoes, flour, yeast, orange juice, sugar, egg and vodka. After resting it for 2 hours, with using walnut-sized pieces of dough, make little balls. Fry them in hot oil and toss immediately in the orange-flavoured sugar. So yummy!
I love a courgette risotto! First you need to make a quick broth with vegetable stock and the saffron. Then just like any risotto dishes: fry the onions, add washed risotto rice, half of broth and cook it, stirring frequently. Then, just towards when the rice is cooked add the courgette, some pecorino and the. rest of the broth. Season well.
This is an unusual but simply delicious antipasti. Cook the broad beans with the garlic, let them cool. Slip the beans out of their skins and give them a blitz in a food processor with the garlic and lemon juice. Stir in the olives, mint and season. Serve them with toasted ciabatta slices.