Chef Walter Gualtiero Potenza
Monk Fish with Saffron and Sweet Red Roasted Peppers
- 2 pounds fresh monkfish, thinly sliced, like medallions
- 1 whole roasted red pepper, skinless, seedless, julienne
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon saffron
- ¼ cup Sauvignon Blanc wine
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Dry roasted peppers on kitchen paper towel
- In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add roasted pepper, cook briefly for 2 minutes.
- Move peppers to side of skillet, add monkfish slices. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes on both sides.
- Remove monkfish from skillet. Set aside in a platter, keep warm.
- Pour cream into skillet, reduce heat. Add saffron to wine, blend well.
- Increase heat, pour wine-saffron mixture into cream sauce, reduce for 1 minute.
- Pour over monkfish, serve at once.
A low cake / bread made of chestnut flour, this Florentine bread is found in cookbooks dating back to the 14th Century. Flavored with olive oil, rosemary, raisins, and nuts, it makes a perfect hearty snack, or the ending to a rustic meal. Until recently, Castagnaccio wedges were sold on street corners from a large copper pan.
- 3 tablespoon raisins
- ½ cup lukewarm milk
- 2 cups plus two tablespoons chestnut flour
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons pignoli (pine nuts or chopped walnuts)
- 2 cups cold milk, or soy, or nut
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
- Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
- In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the lukewarm milk for 20 minutes. Sift all but 1 tablespoon of the chestnut flour into a large bowl.
- Add the sugar, a pinch of salt, and the pignoli or walnuts. Mix very well with a wooden spoon, then add the 2 cups of milk little by little, stirring constantly, and being careful to avoid lumps.
- Drain the raisins, and flour them with 1 tablespoon of chestnut flour. Add raisins to bowl, along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and mix very well until smooth.
- Oil a round baking pan, 9 inch in diameter, and 3 inch high, with the entire second tablespoon of olive oil.
- Pour the contents of the bowl into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the rosemary leaves over.
Note: Castagnaccio can also be made as a sweetbread. Just increase the amount of sugar to 3 tablespoons.
Question: What inspired you to work with gluten-free cuisine?
Answer: It began with some guests inquiring about the possibility of having special requests, and I noticed their frustration in their appeals. I quickly began my research and the rest has been just fun and pleasantry. There is no better fulfillment for a chef than to satisfy guests with nutritious and balanced cooking. Their smile, is worth all the efforts.
Question: What are your most exciting gluten-free recipes?
Answer: I love to blend fruits and vegetables into my cooking in the form of purees. Therefore, recipes structured with those ingredients are the most inspiring because they offer additional natural benefits, and intriguing flavor profiles.
Question: Tell me a little about your restaurants, and the gluten-free menu.
Answer: We have been in business for 25 years, specializing in regional and historical Italian cookery. The gluten- free addition is my new desire to change with the nutritional changes and needs of our culture. As a chef, I take a serious approach to the health of my patrons.
Question: If you were going to help someone who was trying to introduce a gluten-free menu to their restaurant, what would you tell them the most important thing to consider is?
Answer: To be extremely educated about it, do the necessary research and implement the changes gradually. Also is mandatory to run cooking and educational classes for the staff. Everyone one on board needs to know the customer’s needs and expectations.
Question: Tell me a little bit about your work in Italy with olive oil.
Answer: I work for the International Olive Oil Council in Madrid as a tester. New products come into the marketplace, and their need overall classification and guidelines for price point. I also drink 2 tablespoons of the golden fat a day, and use it in every cooking application possible. Extra virgin olive oil are not suitable for cooking, because they lose their strength at frying point. However, having olive oil as a raw product to add to different dishes is a wonderful technique. In the restaurant we offer an extra virgin olive oil bar, so that guests can choose the varietals, colors, structures and aromas for their final dish.
Question: Do you have any exciting projects in the future that you would like to share with us?
Answer: I am in the process of building a new cooking school, the Italian Culinary Institute, where we specialize in the history, culture, and technical practice of Italian cooking. We also offer cooking and travel in Central Italy, where we run a cooking school in a winery in Abruzzo. We also visit Marche and lovely Umbria. In my next culinary trip, we will visit the Jewish ghettos in Italy, where Jewish heritage settled since the 1500. The Sephardic cooking in Italy, has been very inspiring to me, because of the contribution it made in the Italian culinary repertoire.
Biography of Chef Walter Gualtiero Potenza
Chef Walter Gualtiero Potenza is owner of Walters restaurant on historic Federal Hill in Providence and a cooking school facility in Abruzzon Central Eastern Italy.
A native of Abruzzo, chef Walter has being cooking for the past 37 years since emigrating here from Italy. His philosophy has been to maintain un-altered the True Italian Cooking, "Vera cucina Italiana" and to diffuse the veracity of the regional cultural culinary richness of Italy.
He has been featured on channels such as the Food network, Fox, We, Travel, Rai, CBS, NBC, and the host of two cooking shows; Flavors & knowledge with ABC, and Stir it up with Cox network. His Federal Hill cook book is at his 4th printing, and in the process of releasing two more; Federal Hill Sweets, and the much awaited 19 Ghettos, the life and the foods of the Jews in Italy after the Inquisition. Potenza’s unique cooking style is honed from a special love of recreating and reinterpreting Holiday dishes and foods traditional to the Italian Jews. The Jewish Sephardic Heritage, has been associated with Italy for over 2.000 years, and its culinary repertoire integrated into the land.
First chef in the United States to introduce the century’s old technique and art of Terracotta cookery, with historically accurate food dishes from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. The specially designed hand-made vessels available nationwide, are currently used by professionals such as Mario Batali, Tyler Florence, Paula Wolfert, Tony Mantuano and the like.
His articles about food and history are published regularly on the web, and have been featured in national and International publications, such as The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicles, Atlanta Constitution and more.
Chef Walter’s has received many national and International awards, including the Insignia from the President of the Italian Republic, as the Ambassador of Italian Culture abroad.
He is the president of Ciao Italia North America, the chapter of True Italian restaurants in the World, and a member or 15 culinary associations. His devotion to healthy and nutritious cooking has expanded into research and developments of new products for consumers. His fields of expertise include Diabetic cookery and Celiac- gluten free research. His cooking school in Providence offer classes for recreational and foodies, along with his travel and cooking tours in Central Eastern Italy. In October 2009 Walter’s Ristorante d’Italia he has been awarded with the 6 Star Diamond from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, and the Maestro di Cucina from the Association of Master Chefs in Italy.
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