Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Mussels au gratin


Servings 4

* 4 ½ lb mussels
* 3 ½ oz breadcrumbs
* 4 cloves of garlic
* ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
* 2 lemons
* salt and pepper


15 minutes preparation + 5 minutes cooking

Carefully was the mussels, passing them multiple times under running water to remove any dirt and impurities. Place a saute pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp oil. When hot, add 1 tbsp of peeled garlic.

When the garlic becomes golden, add the mussels. Cover and cook until open, then remove from the heat and let cool.

In the meantime, collect parsley, remaining garlic finely chopped, breadcrumbs, salt and remaining oil in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Once the mussels are cool, open them and separate the empty half shells from the ones with the mussels.

Place the half shells with the mussels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fill the shells with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake in a 400° F oven for a couple of minutes or until the mussels are golden.

Serve either warm of cold, with a squirt of lemon juice if you like.

Food History

People have been eating fish in most of the world for over 2,000 years and the same holds true for shellfish, especially with regards to populations that lived close to the sea. It is believed that the Greeks and Romans really liked oysters and mussels. In fact, the Romans farmed mussels beginning in the 1st century A.C..
Considered to be an aphrodisiac for years due to their shape, mussels continued to be eaten during the Middles Ages, especially in monasteries where the monks couldn’t eat meat. The mussels were prepared in various ways and most of the recipes have been passed along unchanged until today.

Should you require any special dish which is not in the menu, please contact our restaurant manager in advance with your request.

Montpeliano Restaurant
13 Montpelier street
Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1HQ
T. +44(0)2075890032

Monday, 11 January 2010

Discover Italian Regional Cuisine: Puglia


With almost 500 miles of coastline, Apulia has long been considered Italy’s bridge to the East. This ancient land has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, as evidenced by the numerous dolmen and menhir found throughout the region. Apulia has seen many rulers come and go, including the Greeks, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Lombards, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Argons, Venetians, Spanish and the French.

When it comes to the vast landscape, Apulia is considered Italy’s flattest region. In northern Apulia, you will find the large, yellowing plain of wheat called the Tavoliere. The rocky Gargano peninsula and Tremiti archipelago dominate the northern coast. The southern coastline leads to the peninsula of Salento, dividing the Adriatic from the Ionian Sea.

The history of the region is written in the rocks. The prehistoric monuments, the Greek and Roman ruins and Norman castles all tell incredible stories. The incredible Castel del Monte, Romanesque cathedral and Baroque details made with white stone from Lecce all attest to the region’s storied past.


The Apulian plains are basically one agricultural field. Grains, olives, almonds and all types of fruits and vegetables are grown here. The region is also known for its grapes and small Lampascionionions.

Bread and pasta are the basis of the Apulian diet. The dark, crusty bread from Altamura is famous throughout Italy. Pizza, stuffed focaccia, calzoni and panzerotti are made daily. Frisedde are dry biscuits that were originally eaten by sheepherders, whereas taralli are crisp, ring shaped crackers.

The traditional pasta dishes are primarily made at home. Orecchiette are probably the most well known type of Apulian pasta and is served with broccoli rape or Bari-style rag├╣, a rich veal sauce. The classic pasticcio di maccheroni is an oven-baked pasta dish that is often made for special occasions. Ciambotta is also a popular pasta dish made with a rich fish sauce.

For a long period, sheep were the only animals raised on the Tavoliere plain. In Apulia, you will considerably more lamb and goat meat than beef. The regional cheeses follow suit. The majority of regional cheeses are made with sheep’s milk, but there are some cow’s milk cheeses as well. Fior di Latte DOP, Canestrato DOP, Pecorino, Ricotta, Scamorza, Caciocavallo, and Burrata di Andria are all produced in Apulia. When it comes to salumi, the region is known for its Salsiccia Leccese, which is a sausage made from pork, veal, lemon peel, cinnamon and cloves. In the area of town of Martina Franca, you can find excellent Capocollo and Soppressata.

The regional cuisine is obviously rich in fish, which appear in soups, sauces and stews. The offerings vary from the oysters of Taranto to the Pulpe rizze, or “curly octopus” from Bari. Another regional specialty is Tarantello, or cured tuna belly.

The desserts are often made with almonds, honey and candied fruit. Try the Carteddate, Mostaccioli, and Cauciani… perhaps with a glass of locally produced sweet wine like Malvasia or Aleatico.

Should you require any special regional dish from Puglia please contact our restaurant manager in advance with your request.

Montpeliano Restaurant
13 Montpelier street
Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1HQ
T. +44(0)2075890032