OUR ITALIAN TABLE
Michele grew up as part of a second-generation Italian-American family that originated in Sicily and Marche, Italy. Together with her brother, Joe, they grew up helping their mother prepare Italian specialties for family and neighbors near and far from their little kitchen in Phillipsburg, NJ. From fresh pasta to gnocchi, passatelli to meatballs, their mother’s passion for cooking was passed on to them and in 2008, they founded their Italian food blog, Our Italian Table, where they share their love of Italian food and heritage and the magic of all things Italy. Their blog was launched with the tagline ‘A tavola, non s’invecchia’ - at the table, one never grows old - a reminder that the simple act of sharing a meal together is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Over the past decade, their website has evolved from a simple blog to find more ways to share their love of Italy - from their first little cookbook, Gatherings, to products from cherished Italian artisans, to food and wine tours in Montalcino, Tuscany which Michele now calls her second home.
Follow Our Italian Table on Instagram, @ouritaliantable and check out their website over at https://ouritaliantable.com.
SHAVED FENNEL SALAD
▢ 1 large fennel bulb
▢ 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
▢ 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
▢ Zest and juice of ½ lemon
▢ 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
▢ Sicilian Sea Salt with Organic Lemon
▢ Freshly ground black pepper
▢ 12 medium dry scallops, tendons removed
▢ 12 slices prosciutto
▢ 2 tablespoons olive oil
▢ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
▢ Kosher salt
▢ Freshly ground black pepper
▢ Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
▢ 1 tablespoon shelled pistachios, finely chopped
▢ Zest of 1/2 lemon
▢ Fennel fronds
▢ Wild Foraged Fennel Pollen
Remove the stalks and fronds from the fennel bulb. Reserve the fronds. Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Using a mandoline, very thinly slice the fennel and add to the ice water bath. Soak the fennel slices for at least 20 minutes (this helps keep the fennel crisp).
Place the scallops on a small baking tray or plate and blot away any moisture using a paper towel to ensure they are dry. (This will ensure a beautiful sear). Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper. Fold each prosciutto slice in half lengthwise and wrap each scallop with 1 slice of prosciutto, overlapping the ends (you may need to trim the slices of prosciutto depending on length).
Heat the oil and butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the scallops being sure not to crowd them in the pan (you may need to cook in batches). Cook, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the scallops and cook until just opaque, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Drain the fennel from the ice bath and dry thoroughly. In a medium bowl, combine the fennel, mint, parsley, zest and juice of the lemon and olive oil. Toss. Season to taste with Lemon Sea Salt and pepper.
Plate the salad on a serving dish. Top with the scallops. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and garnish with pistachios, lemon zest, fennel fronds and sprinkle with Fennel Pollen. Serve immediately. Buon appetito!
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