Since May 2013, we have been making extensive use of My Umbrian Kitchen by Patrizia Simone. (Patrizia is famous in Victoria for the restaurant she and her husband established in the country town of Bright, in the north-east of our state; they had migrated from the Italian region of Umbria early in their married life.)
We purchased this lovely book at a Mothers Day luncheon that featured three courses of food prepared according to some of Patrizia’s recipes. To date, we have used more than a dozen of the recipes in the book, including three dishes which featured rabbit, trout and quail, respectively, all boned by Maggie.
As a cookbook, My Umbrian Kitchen is the best match for our tastes and cooking ambitions that we have ever discovered. It is also beautifully presented.
Many of Patrizia’s recipes are overtly seasonal – she is renowned for using local produce in season – so we had to be patient as the year passed from autumn, through winter and spring and then, towards the end of summer, arriving at the best time for peaches. All for the sake of using her recipe for grilled spatchcock and peaches.
We have modified the recipe twice – to the marinade, judging by our palates, and to the cooking process, based on experience. Our version follows. The recipe assumes that you have access to a barbecue that can also function effectively as an oven. If not, use a grill pan then your kitchen oven.
2 spatchcocks (aka poussin) weighing 500-600g
1 red chilli, finely chopped (or a generous pinch of chilli flakes)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp sugar
juice of half a lemon
up to 1 tbsp olive oil
3 ripe freestone yellow peaches, pitted and halved
a vinaigrette dressing, to serve
- Using kitchen scissors, split each spatchcock down the backbone and flatten it open. Cut away the tips from the wings, then use a sharp knife to slash each leg at its thickest part to allow the heat to penetrate when cooking.
- Make a marinade by combining the chilli, garlic, sage, parsley, fennel seeds, sugar, lemon juice and some of the olive oil; add extra sugar, lemon juice or oil to balance the marinade to your taste.
- Rub the spatchcocks with the marinade and refrigerate, covered, for a few hours, turning them occasionally. Remove from the fridge at least 45 minutes before cooking.
- Heat the barbecue grill plate until hot.To grill the peaches, cook them for 3 minutes on their skins then four minutes on their flesh; remove and reserve for step 6 below. To grill the spatchcock, cook them for 10 minutes on the underside then 7 minutes on their skins.
- Are you with me?
- Reduce the heat to roast at about 180C. Roast the spatchcock and peaches for about 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer.
- To serve, divide the spatchcock and peaches between two plates (or four as an entree) and drizzle with some dressing. A simple green salad, eg mesclun leaves and cucumber, would go well, especially if you mix them on the plate with all the juices.
We made this twice more while peaches were in season and we can hardly wait for the next season (which we did and made it the main course of Christmas Day lunch 2014).