We just returned from a few weeks in our beautiful Motherland. Joey and Mark kicked things off early with a week up near Liguria while Jay and I spent a day soaking in the thermal pools at Saturnia to ward off any jet lag. We then met up at a little villa we rented on Monte Argentario in western Tuscany, perched high above the sea overlooking the magical sunsets over the little island of Giglio. It is candidly hard to find the right words to express the magic of the past few weeks so I will let my photos of the first part of our trip do most of the talking. ✨ (Will post more about Giglio and Montalcino, our other stops, in upcoming posts!)
As I rolled into a new decade 🥳😳, we watched the sun sink lower on the horizon, inching its way closer to the shores of Giglio and watched as the world exploded with color – a show I would like to imagine was orchestrated just for me by those I love who are now watching our antics from above. Our sweet little villa faced the sea and was painted the most beautiful golden color, matching the glow from the setting sun. The evening was made even sweeter with a little surprise gift from a cousin and his lovely wife in America; a gift sent to Joey and Mark to tuck into their suitcases; a gift of the most beautiful little bracelet adorned by the sweetest little crystal ladybug. Ladybugs hold a very, very special place in my heart – read more about why in this post about my dad.
By day, we explored this adorable region, soaked in the fresh sea air, scrambled around the old castle walls of the tiny village atop Giglio, had long, long lunches of fresh local seafood 🐠 with frosty bottles of Vermentino and Ansonica and explored the fish market almost every day to dream up that night’s dinner. The poor guys at Pescheria da Roberto were so incredibly patient with us as we debated spigola (sea bass) or branzino, seppie (cuttlefish) or polpo (octopus), gamberi (shrimp) or bigger gamberi. We ogled the fish in the cases and dreamt up a million ideas for dinner.
Pescheria da Roberto: Freshest of fish from the sea Seafood as far as the eye can see And so incredibly helpful
By eve, Joey and I plotted how to turn the day’s fresh catch 🎣 into a meal while Jay tended to fires both on the outside grill and in the inside fireplace and Mark uncorked bottles of vino (at a rather alarming rate). The first night, we stuffed fresh little spigola and handed them over to Jay to work his magic over the fire.
We overdid it a bit with the amount of fish we needed for dinner so we ended up with some delicious and smoky leftover cooked fish and potatoes. As is true all around Italy, when you have leftovers, a frittata is in order. Using eggs as the binder, you can turn any good leftover into a delicious light meal. Just serve wedges of the frittata cold or at room temp with a green salad, a glass of crisp white wine and you’re set!
Our fresh spigola Turned into a yummy fresh fish frittata Jay working his magic on the fire
One of my most beautiful memories of the week was being able to spend a week cooking and dreaming up recipes with my brother – a memory made even more wonderful against the backdrop of our amazing location and food. And while missing my little kitty Luna back in the US, our little villa even came complete with our own little tiger kitty, Bierba (and a few kitty friends) who patiently waited for us to wake each morning, curled up on a chair just outside the front door. Our wonderful owner even provided cat food so I could feed my little friend each day.
Cooking together Our little kitty friends I got to feed everyday
Well, salute to another turn around the sun ☀️ – I am so, so grateful to all of you, near and far, that took time out of your busy lives to send a birthday greeting. My heart is full. May all your days be filled with the magic of sunsets. And remember if you happen to have some fresh fish remaining, do remember to try it in a frittata – it is yummy! Buon appetito! (More on Giglio and Montalcino soon!)
Frittata are a wonderful way to use up delicious leftovers. When using fish as an ingredient, it’s important to keep the other ingredients mild so you don’t drown out the fish. And skip the cheese when using fish!
- 6–8 oz previously cooked fish at room temp, crumbled with bones and skin removed
- 1 previously cooked Yukon Gold potato, diced
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 2 (unpeeled) zucchini, diced
- 5 or 10 small tomatoes, rough chopped
- 5–10 sprigs of parsley, stems removed and rough chopped
- 6 fresh eggs
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Heat oven to 350℉.
- In a medium bowl, add the fish, potato, garlic, onion, zucchini, tomatoes and parsley. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper. (Many of the ingredients will still be raw but this is your chance to season with additional salt and pepper.
- Add the 6 eggs. Stir well to combine.
- Using a 8-inch non stick skillet, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat over a medium-low heat until the olive oil begins to simmer.
- Add the prepared mixture. It should sizzle a little when added. Gently stir as needed to evenly distribute all the ingredients.
- Cook until the edge of the frittata begins to firm and you can cleanly run a spatula around the edge.
- Transfer to the oven and let it cook until the frittata is firm throughout. Remembering that the pan in the oven is hot and using an oven mitt, jiggle the pan to taste that center is firm.
- Remove the pan back the stove and let cool.
- Remove to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature or cold.
- 8 inch non-stick skillet