Bill Granger has been one of Australia’s favourite cooking sons for quite some years now and over those years he has been spreading the love to the rest of the world. He already has three restaurants in Sydney, four in Japan and one in London, but has added to those by opening another in Waikiki, Hawaii and a second central London establishment this year. Bill is a self-taught cook whose relaxed and joyful approach to food is an essential element of his enduring popularity and is one of the main reasons I enjoy his food. His recipes focus on the freshness of seasonal produce and he manages to create dishes with great flavours without long, daunting lists of ingredients or complicated procedures.
His newest cookbook, Bill’s Italian Food (Harper Collins Australia) is a continuation of that happy tradition. Australians have much in common with Italy, with our sunny Mediterranean climate and bountiful fresh produce, so it’s no surprise that we relate closely with Italian food and Bill’s simple approach to food combined with his spirit of generosity and sharing reflect much about the Italian lifestyle. This uncomplicated approach is carried through to the layout of Bill’s new book, with the chapters divided into solution-driven chapters such as “Weekday”, Slow”, “Dinner”, “Party” or “Sweets”. Bill points out in the first pages of the book that, for the time-poor, much of this food can be achieved with the aid of cheats purchased in a deli, but goes on to give recipes for some of the simple pantry basics like passata and soffritto that can be made and stored easily at home and will make the world of difference to your finished dishes. It’s never occurred to me to make soffritto and freeze it (doh!), but I’ve certainly done so now.
The recipes in this book encompass every aspect of simple Italian food from a delicious and very quick Tomato and Mozzarella Gnocchi Bake (the first dish to catch my eye and a big hit with the troops), to hearty peasant dishes like Baked Cabbage and Bread Soup, the fresh and big flavours of a Griddled Squid and Herb Salad or a stunningly photographed Fritto Misto Platter that should evince gasps from any self-respecting dinner guest. This is one of those rare books that seems to have a recipe that I want to try on every second page and is already looking a little grubby from too much pawing.
Just to give you a hint of what is between the covers of Bill Granger’s Bill’s Italian Food I’ve got this recipe to share. This fresh, simple and tasty dish is quick to prepare, but big on flavour. While I’m in the mood for sharing, I’ve also got two copies of Bill’s Italian Food to give away to two lucky readers, thanks to Harper Collins Australia. All the details for the competition are at the end of this post.
Pan-Fried Snapper, Capers and Lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 snapper fillets about 150g each, skin on
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- 1 garlic clove thinly sliced
- 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Season the snapper with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook, skin side down, for 2–3 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden.
- Turn over and cook for a further minute then remove to a platter and keep warm.
- Return the pan to the heat, turn up the temperature and heat the remaining oil.
- Tip in the capers, garlic and lemon slices and sizzle until the capers burst open and look crisp.
- Spoon over the snapper and serve with green bean and little gem salad.
Terms and Conditions
1. This competition is open to Australian residents only and will be drawn on Friday 23 August 2013.
2. Log in to enter, using the entry form in the link below, and click on each task to view the instructions.
3. The first two tasks are mandatory and must be completed to enter the competition. Subsequent tasks are optional, but will gain you more entries, thus more opportunity to be a winner.
4. Make sure you record your entry to be counted.
5. I have TWO copies of “Bill’s Italian Food” to give away to 2 lucky readers.
6. The lucky winner will be drawn at random.
7. The winner will be notified by email and their name will be posted here. They must reply within 48 hours or the competition will be redrawn.
The copies of “Bill’s Italian Food” have been kindly supplied by Harper Collins Australia.