"Her cookbook is full of elegant and rich traditional dishes from the L'Aquila region. . . . This wonderful book . . . will appeal to foodies and cooks looking for effortless Italian cooking."
"For the cook with the sophisticated side, and an affinity for family-style Italian meals, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is the perfect book."
—Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts
"The new George Clooney thriller currently in theaters, The American, is set in Italy's Abruzzo region. With the movie, cookbook author and food stylist Maria Filice has found herself uniquely poised to talk about Abruzzo's food."
Maria is honored to be featured on Cookstr, a cooking site dedicated to providing great recipes from the best chefs and cookbook authors. Take a look here.
Brava! My first jar of Melanzane Sott'Olio (Pickled Eggplant). It is not an easy task when unwritten family recipes end up in a game of charades+pictionary and a series of made up words. Here's an example of a made up word: frip e frappi - it gets scary when you know exactly what they are referring to. I started writing down all of these ancient Calabrese secrets before they become extinct like the dialect!
But seriously, there are a few different recipes to pickled eggplant. Some do not boil the eggplant whereas others will marinate with white vinegar/water. Others will cut the eggplant in strips or rounds - my family refers the strips to the same size of fringi friti (french fries).
4 large eggplants 2 tablespoons salt 1 cup white vinegar 2 garlic cloves, chopped a few pinches of red chili flakes 2 tbsp. fresh mint chopped (optional) 2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil or enough to heavily coat
Peel eggplant, cut in half and slice into finger length pieces approximately 1/4" thick (fringi friti). Place in a large bowl, add salt and stir thoroughly.
Boil a large pot of salted water and add vinegar. Add the eggplant when the pot is boiling for approximately in ten seconds "frip e frappi" turn them over for another ten seconds.
Drain the eggplant in collander. Shock them by adding cold water to stop cooking. Let stand for about two hours.
Squeeze and wring out all excess water from the eggplant using hands. Add the eggplant in the bowl and place a plate with a weight (I wrapped a brick in a towel) and placed on the plate. It helps to get any excess water removed. Check it periodically within a 24 hour period. Remove excess water.
Add the strained-drained eggplant to another bowl. Add olive oil, chopped garlic, oregano, red chili flakes and chopped mint (optional). Taste and add salt, if necessary (it should be a little salty). Place in jars and cover with additional olive oil. Close jars tightly. Store for 2 weeks before serving.
This is great for antipasti, sandwiches or with crusty bread. Anything goes .... whatever you like. Growing up, we used to eat melazane sott'olio served with cured salciccia, cheese and tomato salad. Don't forget: A nice glass of red wine !
Maria Filice, first-time author and food stylist, is a first-generation Canadian-American Italian. Maria grew up following her Calabrian family’s old country values. She learned from the best—her mother, grandmother, and aunts—whom she watched from the time she could barely walk. While she observed her relatives cooking together, with a little of this and a little of that, she listened well. Today, her relatives and friends are delighted as she entertains them in her kitchen with her storytelling and her cooking.
In both her kitchen and her professional life, Maria’s philosophy is to live life to its fullest. Her lack of formal training cannot diminish her passion or dissuade her from taking risks with her cooking. In truth, her fresh eye has allowed her to excel. Her natural flair for food styling reflects her personal style and demonstrates how a simple recipe can look beautiful. Maria’s warmth, humor, and gregarious personality always make guests feel motivated to discover their own style in the kitchen.
Today Maria Filice resides in Upstate NY as publisher of Telos Press, as well as publisher, author, and food stylist for Food and Fate Publishing.