• May 2015
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Cathy Pavlos, executive chef/co-owner, LUCCA   

Click here for Cathy Pavlos' bio

Thursday, June 03, 2010
My adventure in Italy continues
My adventure in Lucca begins
After months of planning, Elliott and I finally made it to the Italian countryside to lead an “adventure” to Tuscany for Laguna Culinary Arts through Saturday, June 5. The beauty of northern Tuscany is quite dramatic, with vineyard-covered sun-drenched hills and olive trees meeting the rugged peaks of the Alpi Apuane.

When we arrived at the site of our culinary tour – and our home for the majority of our stay – we found ourselves at a beautiful 500-year-old Tuscan farmhouse overlooking the Pescia river valley, about 25 minutes outside of Lucca. The property has been lovingly restored to retain its old-world charm, with comfortable rooms and plenty of gathering areas, while providing all the modern conveniences, including fabulous kitchens both inside and outside, wood-burning ovens, organic gardens and a large pool.

Our itinerary has plenty of choices, allowing guests to participate in as much as you want each day – visiting local markets, medieval villages and wineries, with plenty of time to relax in the grounds of the farmhouse or at the poolside, or to take walks through the surrounding olive orchards, or perhaps to walk up to the local village. My guests were greeted with a spread of local dishes and even made their own raviolis!

We’ve begun exploring the fascinating local history and culture of the northwest region, while enjoying the famous and delicious local cuisine along with beautiful Tuscan sunsets. On a recent picnic, we enjoyed a lunch with Olive Oil-Poached Fish. Here’s a photo of the dish before everyone dug into it and, for the adventurous, I’m sending the recipe for this delicious selection! This is my recipe for a group of 20, so please adjust accordingly, and let me know if you attempt to make it at home!

Olive Oil-Poached Fish

Servings: 20

1 1/4 cup capers
8 1/3 lbs halibut filets
6 2/3 lemons (thinly sliced)
1 1/4 cup Italian parsley
2 1/2 quart olive oil
To taste, fine sea salt
To taste, ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Chop half of the capers and pat fish dry.
Sprinkle fish with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Arrange half of the lemon slices in one layer in a square baking dish and arrange fish in one layer on top of the lemons.
Top with all of the capers, remaining lemon slices and half of the parsley, then pour the oil over the top of the fish.
Bake in the center of the oven, uncovered, until fish just flakes and is cooked through, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Serve fish at room temperature with some lemon slices, capers and oil spooned over; sprinkle with remaining parsley.