Don’t you love it when you drop in to your parents’ house to say hello and Giovanni Pilu (the Italian head-chef of Pilu) is making lunch, just by the by? That is truly hand-on-heart what happened the other day, by some extraordinary coincidence the very day after I went to his incredible Freshwater restaurant Pilu for dinner.
Now let me explain. Pilu, or Giovanni as I shall now call him, was doing some recipes and a shoot for Australian Good Food magazine, of which my dear Mumsie is food director. Sometimes they do their shoots at her light-filled abode. So the photographers and stylists and food preps and chef were there at the house I grew up in, as they so often were when I returned home from school. And they were bustling and snapping and the most heady smells were coming from the kitchen. Giovanni was making lunch – a whole baked snapper, caramelised onion potato salad, bruschetta, a peach Aperol aperitivo.
The warm potato salad with caramelised onions is perfect as a side dish with a baked fish, a snapper was used on this happy occasion. Giovanni used kipfler potatoes, which are perfect for this salad.2 tbsp olive oil 2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced 800g potatoes, scrubbed, halved lengthways 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, to serve
Heat olive oil in a frying pan on a medium-low heat. Cook onions for 15-20 mins, until soft and caramelised.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add potatoes and cook for 15-20 mins, until cooked but still quite firm. Drain and allow to cool just enough to be able to peel off skin. Cut into 2cm pieces.
Place potato on a serving platter and season with salt and black pepper. Add caramelised onion and parsley leaves and toss together.
Whisk vinegar and extra virgin olive oil together and pour over potato. Gently toss together and serve.
For a variation of Pilu’s Aperol peach aperitivo, for winter, the peach nectar adds a summery twist on this Italian classic.
50ml Aperol 20ml ginger liqueur 20ml peach nectar 15ml lemon juice 1 mint leaf, to serve Pour everything into a cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice and shake, then serve with a sprig of mint.
Pilu: ‘On the Beach’, Moore Road, Harbord NSW 2096 – (02) 9938 3331 All pics by Kate Gibbs