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Appetizers Gino's Italian Escape Seafood

Three ciccetti

“Cicchetti are always best served with a glass of chilled Italian white wine.”
– Gino D’Acampo

Cicchetti are little bar snacks that are unique to Venice, so it is the perfect place to try them – you can even have a tour of the bars that serve these little plates of deliciousness! In Venice these dishes often feature seafood, but there are other options too. Cicchetti are always best served with a glass of chilled Italian white wine.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

– 12 thin slices of ciabatta, griddled or toasted
– For the courgette cicchetti
– 1 courgette, cut into very fine matchsticks
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
– ¼ fennel bulb, finely sliced
– 1 tablespoon small capers
– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– Salt and ground white pepper to taste

For the two mayonnaises:

– 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
– 1 tablespoon medium chilli powder
– Peeled and finely diced rind of ½ lemon, plus a little juice

For the crispy cod cicchetti:

– 100g skinless cod fillet
– 3 tablespoons toasted fine breadcrumbs
– 2 tablespoons mild chilli powder
– 1 egg
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– Sea salt flakes

For the prawn cicchetti:

– 6 large prawns, peeled

DIRECTIONS

Make the courgette cicchetti by putting the courgette, chives, fennel and capers in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper then add the extra virgin olive oil. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.

Make the two lots of mayonnaise by mixing 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise with the chilli powder in one bowl, then in another bowl mix the remaining mayonnaise with the lemon rind and juice. Set both to one side.

Cut the cod on a slight angle into really thin slices. Combine the breadcrumbs and chilli powder on one plate and beat the egg on another plate. Dip the cod slices into the egg, then shake off any excess and roll in the breadcrumb mix, pressing down to evenly cover.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the cod for 1 minute. Turn and cook for another minute only. Add the prawns and cook for 15 seconds. Remove the cod and prawns from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.

Take four pieces of toast and top each with a little of the lemon mayo. Take four more and top with the chilli mayo. Slice the prawns into rings and place them, in a line, on top of the chilli-mayo toasts. Cut each piece of breaded cod in half and place on top of the lemon-mayo toasts, then sprinkle over the sea salt flakes. Finally, top the last four toasts with the courgette and fennel salad. Serve all the toasts together on a big platter for everyone to help themselves, or divide among 4 little side plates for individual bites.

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