Red Mullet with Charred Onions and Pine Nuts

original recipe

I am Sicilian.

Okay, I’m like 1/8 Sicilian, the rest a combination of German, Swedish, and Danish. So, basically a Euro-mutt (hey, most Americans are a wacky combination of heritages, right?), but I REALLY pride myself on that Sicilian blood.

I’ve been to Italy only twice: the first time with my family with I was a teenager (and horrible, I might add - me, not the trip. Word to the wise: don’t bring a bratty teen on an Italian vacation; it won’t end well for anyone). We went as far south as Florence but that was all I needed. I was hooked. This was the motherland. THESE WERE MY PEOPLE!

The second time was in 2015 with my husband. We ventured as far south as Sorrento where we lazed our way down the Italian Riviera, exploring beaches and olive groves, winding through the tight corridors of ancient hill towns, and finding a pace that allowed us to just -be-, satisfying a longing for a slower lifestyle that we got to experience if only for a week.

That was the last overseas trip we went on before our son was born (nope, that’s not where THAT happened GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER) and I’ve been ready to go back for the last four years. Next time: Sicily. I want to see the land where my ancestors lived, taste the simple food of the region, and revel in the scent of Sicilian orange blossoms drifting through the air.

We’ll get there. Of that I am sure.

The May 2018 issue of Bon Appétit is my favorite issue of all time. Everything from the editorial design to the stories to the photos and recipes contained within is beautiful. There is something special about this issue: it’s different in style and substance. It’s simpler and yet more complex. And it is filled with stories. More than normal. Like the tattered January 2014 issue I have saved in my bookshelf, this one also has a longtime place in my home. I refer to it again and again, specifically the story entitled “How to Summer Like an Italian” with text by @b_goutish and recipes by @ignaciomattos.

And while the setting for this story takes place in Northern Italy, I like to imagine that when I travel to Sicily and discover the island my family called home, I’ll be able to live la dolce vita not unlike the story in this issue. In the meantime, I’ll be cooking the recipes from this story in an attempt to transport myself there from the comfort of my own backyard, the scent of our California orange blossoms as a fine stand in for now…

Illustrated ingredients: Red mullet, pine nuts, capers, golden raisins, parsley, lemon and red pepper flakes