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Recent Cooking from Sweet Myrtle & Bitter Honey (Sardinian)

I cooked from this on Sunday for lunch and dinner, as well as for dinner yesterday.


Bruschetta with salsicce and pecorino - had bought some lovely hot salsicce and pecorino sardo on Saturday, and topped it off with a drizzle of fruttato.

Soup of fregula with baby clams – a quick and lovely soup, with tomatoes, loads of parsley, saffron and lemon zest added at the end, which gave it a lovely "kick".

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  1. Dinner -

    Roasted Sardines (olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, garlic, parsley) - a quick dish in the oven - only pain was cleaning the sardines as I'd forgotten to ask the fish monger to do so. The photo is of the leftovers, as I forgot to take one before hand (the camera being operated has become the signal for my husband that dinner is ready!).

    Beef braised in red wine – bay leaves, juniper, thyme, rosemary, star anise, red wine, mosto d’uva - I actually cut up some veal steaks I had and needed to use up - including some lovely marrow bones. I think the dish would be better with beef, but it is a nice quick stove top braise - about 45 minutes. Lovely flavors.

    Salad of arugula, pears, ricotta salata and walnuts - with fruttato drizzled on top, and sprinkled with sea salt and a grinding of pepper. Very refreshing.

    1. Dinner - Monday -

      Malloreddus with lamb ragu and lamb chops - this is made with “My mother’s tomato sauce” (includes garlic, bay leaf, celery, carrot, large green onion, 2 basil sprigs - you remove the celery, carrot and bay leaf before serving), which I'd made on Sunday. You sear the lamb chops in olive oil, garlic, shallots, thyme and rosemary, then set aside, and add the cubed lamb shoulder, white onion, red wine, and the tomato sauce, as well as basil. The tomato sauce recipe also calls for adding fresh basil at the beginning, which struck me as very anti-Marcella, but it was delicious. We had a repeat of the pear salad after this.

      1. Paraphrase of soup recipe for JoanN:

        24 little neck clams or cockles
        5 cups fish stock (there's a recipe, but I used Citarella's) or vegetable stock
        1/4 cup plus 2 T e.v. olive oil
        2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
        1 small bunch finely chopped flat leaf parsley
        1 pinch crushed red pepper (I used flakes)
        Sea salt
        1.5 cups fregula (that's how he spells it, though I've seen fregola as well) - I think that was too much, and I'd use maybe half that much next time.
        1 pinch saffron
        3 medium seeded and diced Roma tomatoes (I used four plum tomatoes)
        Grated zest of 1 lemon

        Wash clams and place in pot w/ 1 cup stock. Heat and remove clams as they open - kepp warm. Strain the liquid and reserve. Bring rest of stock to a poil. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat and add garlic, parsely, red pepper and saute about 1 minute, until garlic is tender.

        Add clam juice and boiling stock, add salt to taste. Bring to boil, add fregula, saffron, tomatoes and cook 10 minutes over medium heat - stir to avoid sticking. Remove from the burner and add lemon zest. Put clams in the bowls, add soup and drizzle with olive oil. This serves four.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          That sounds as good as it looks! Thanks very, very much. Citarella, here I come.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I've had the ingredients on hand for a couple of days but just got around to making this tonight. It was wonderful. This is going immediately from the try-it folder to the do-again database. It's so fast and easy; it's so full of flavor; it's so satisfying. I think this may actually replace linguine with clam sauce for me. Similar flavors, but better balance of ingredients. Thanks so much for finding, posting, and passing along.

            ETA: Noticed tonight that the bag the ingredient comes in spells it "fregula." So be it.

            1. re: JoanN

              Great! Vongole used to be one of my absolutely favorite dishes, until one day, it just became too cloying for me - even the one I've made for years. This has a great clam flavor without being overwhelming. How much fregula did you use?

              1. re: MMRuth

                I was moving quickly and playing fairly fast and loose with quanties, but for two of us I used about 2/3 clams, 1/2 stock, full amount of herbs and spices, and--based on your recommendation--1/2 the fregula. We ate it all. But for us it was a main course, not a first. You were definitely right about the amount of fregula.

          2. You're killing me.

            Absolutely beautiful and looks delicious. I'm putting in a request for the book right now.

            Edit: Yeah! The book is in transit from another branch. I hope to receive it next week. Can't wait to peruse it at length.

            Thanks for posting.

            1. I made a variation of the Spaghetti with Pecorino and Bottarga yesterday:


              1. Fantastic, it's taking me back to Sardegna. If your book has it, try the recipe for seaddas (a delicious lemon and cheese dessert pastry).

                1. I pulled out this book again on Saturday, along with a pound of ground lamb.

                  Pasta with Lamb and Fava Beans, p. 105

                  This is meant to be made with cubed lamb leg, but I just used 1/2 a pound of the ground lamb instead. I couldn't find decent pearl onions at the corner store, so I bought frozen ones instead. I sauteed the 1/2 julienned leek and chopped rosemary (one sprig) in olive oil, and then added the lamb to brown it. I decided that putting in the onions with the leeks would just add too much water at the stage, so I added them, halved per the recipe, after I browned the lamb. I then deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup red wine and added 1 cup tomato puree and 1 cup water. Now, you are supposed add the shelled fava beans at this point, which I took to mean out of the pods, but not blanched with the skins removed. Since I had plenty of time before dinner, I put a small amount of the dish so far into a small sauce pan, and added six or so favas in that state, and simmered for the 15 minutes called for. While the favas were tender, I didn't particularly like having the skins, so I blanched and peeled the rest of them, and then added them just before serving to the finished sauce, along with one sprig of basil, chopped. I think it's a lot prettier this way too, since you get the bright green of the favas. Tossed half the sauce with 1/2 pound of orecchiette, and a lot of Pecorino Sardo. This really was a delicious dish. He doesn't call for salt at all, but I salted as I went and adjusted at the end as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    A beautiful photo, and thanks for reporting. It pleases me to know that you are still faithfully cooking from our COTM's (or rather, Ruth's mini-COTM thread!)

                    I'm jealous that you can still get favas. I have some lamb stew meat from my CSA farm so maybe I'll give it a whirl. I''m off alcohol for now (a little too much of the Julia Child: one for the pot, one for the cook!) so am at a loss as to how to deglaze. Guess it's chicken broth across the board for moi!