Amazing Amalfi Coast dinner at Bei Amici Restaurant Sydney!
It truly was an evening of Bei Amici, in English – Good Friends! When the owners of this small but very popular eatery approached me a short time ago to host an Amalfi Coast dinner 5 mins drive from my home in Sydney, I couldn’t resist! I had eaten here a few times in the past as a best mate lives right next door & I remember the food was delicious. So I met up with the couple who own this lovely little restaurant, Leigh who runs the floor and her charming Swiss husband Felix who mans the pots and pans cooking up a storm every night. And what a sensational dinner he prepared for us! As I said on the night to our guests, “ if you cant find a Neapolitan chef, get a Swiss one”! They are multi lingual, multi talented, open and neutral to all palates and always on time!”
Felix cooked about 10 dishes from my book Amalfi Coast Recipes, one more delicious than the next. He selected a perfect balance of vegetables, seafoods and meats and topped it off with an exquisite & light Tiramisu con Futti di Bosco………Tiramisu with fresh wild berries.
We had a table from The Italian Chamber of Commerce, I think they may have been sent along to do a ‘spell & pronunciation check’ on my little chat with everyone throughout the meal! We had a delightful table of 10 who turned out to be some fun clients I’d sent to Positano the previous season, I could finally put faces to the names!, the importer, Heath Felton who’s delicious wines we drank during our meal was also present along with plenty of familiar friends and family.
We started with delicious Croche’ di Patate – Potato Pillows and Polpette di Sardine – Sardine Balls.
We then moved onto a delicious antipasto of Carpaccio di Riccola- Kingfish Sashimi by Pasquale Marino. Here is his RECIPE -
Carpaccio di Riccola – 6 pers Antipasto
Raw King Fish Carpaccio
Pasquale Marino Praiano
I dont ever remember seeing fish Carpaccio around much when I first arrived in this area 25 years ago> I see a lot of meat Carpaccio but it was mainly in further north around Milan and Florence. But today fish Carpaccio is as popular as a good bowl of seafood pasta on the Amalfi Coast! Some of the best tuna in the Mediterranean comes from this area down in the fishing village of Cetara, ( ironically the Japanese were always the best buyers of Cetara tuna! And they are the Kings of Carpaccio!). In this area you will also find fantastic King fish, fresh squid and baby prawns – all delicious when prepared Carpaccio style. The seafood is always screaming fresh and during the summer months, this is the perfect dish.
400 gm of screaming fresh filleted king fish of apx 1 cm thick
Or a small sword fish as shown in Pasquale’s shots.
4 tblspns of EVO ( apx 120 ml)
4 lemons juiced
To achieve apx ½ : ½ proportion. But you can alter this according to taste.
Rocket to decorate
Take cling plastic and place fish fillets between two sheets. You can do them one at a time or a couple at a time. With a kitchen hammer or temper (something with a flat surface), gently beat the fillets moving the hammer in an outward motion. Do not make them too thin, apx 5 millimetres.
Spread them out on a large serving dish and dip into the lemon/oil base place on your serving dish. Then drizzle some more dressing over the top.. This should be done just before serving, as they are not supposed to cook in the strong lemon juice/oil mix, it is not a marinade. This dish should be eaten as soon as it has been dressed.
This was served with Mario Rispoli’s wonderful Pepperoni con Caperi salad
Pepperoni con caperi - Bell epper and Caper salad and home baked Freselle – Rock bread
Here is my favourite salad RECIPE -
Peperoni con Caperi e Olive – 6 pers – Contorno
Bell Peppers with Capers and Olives
Mario Rispoli – Bar Bruno Positano
This wonderfully balanced Contorno ( side dish) is a classic in this region of Italy. The sweet bell peppers balance beautifully with the salty capers and olives. Certainly not one of the prettiest Contorni once you have added the bread crumbs to amalgamate everything, but this is a side dish fit for a King! A sensational accompaniment for any meat or fish course.
6 red bell peppers – cut into stripes
6 mixed olives cut into pieces – pips removed
4 teaspns of salted capers – soaked to de-salt
5 tablespns of bread crumbs
EVO – 6 tablespns
Pinch of dried chill
1 squashed garlic clove
Heat oil in a pan with chilli , squashed garlic, capers and olive on a med flame until garlic is golden. Remove the garlic then add red peppers and lower the flame adding a little water at a time every so often. Cook together until red peppers are tender; a good half hour. At the end fold in the grated bread crumbs and serve hot.
The following dish Felix prepared for us was Zuppa di Pesce – Fish Soup. It was such a triumph that we begged Felix to put it permanently on the menu!
And we finished off with the famous Polpette alla Corradina – King Corradin Meatballs, famously names after the teenage Sicilian king who attempting to claim his rightful thrown was caught and beheaded by Charles the I in Naples in 1268. A gruesome story for a delicious dish! This was accompanied by Stufata di Scarola – Saute’s Endives and fresh Finocchio con le Arancie shaved Fennel Salad with Orange pieces.
The end of our meal was highlighted by Tiraminu con Futti di Bosco – Wild berry Tiramisu, created by my brother in law, Daniele Bella to give a fresh light flavour to this wonderful summer dish.
I chatted with our guests throughout the dinner about our mouth watering dishes, their origin, the chefs who so generously offered their long held secret recipes and the exciting week long Gourmet Safari tours I will be offering at the end of September on the Amalfi Coast to a small group of 8 pers. We will be meeting many of my chefs from the Amalfi Coast Recipes book and savouring some of their extraordinary dishes!
It is no small wonder that three weeks before the Bei Amici night we were sold out! Unfortunately Leigh had to turn away many disappointed guests, but we are coming back very soon so book quickly! On April 14 2015 we are thrilled to be doing it all over again! The restaurant only hold apx 50 pers so dont wait too long!
We are yet to develop the coming menu for April 14 but its a promise….you WONT be disappointed!