Is it a beautiful summer evening? Do you have a way to make food? If you answered yes to these two questions, there is little excuse to deny yourself an al fresco dining experience!
Al fresco dining may conjure up images of an idyllic sidewalk café in Paris, or a beach front bar on your favorite Caribbean island. But for anyone with a patio, balcony, deck, or lawn, the ambiance can be easily recreated right at home. And for budget conscious travelers who want to prepare their own food, rather than go out and spend money in a restaurant every night, al fresco is the perfect way to enjoy your apartment rental to its fullest.
We recently stayed in an apartment located in the town of Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, near Sorrento. It came well equipped with a full kitchen, so we took great advantage of the opportunity to cook our own meals. The apartment also featured a huge patio which while not particularly scenic surrounded by apartment blocks and off a busy street, provided the perfect venue for an al fresco dining experience with the ambiance of a city sidewalk café.
Earlier in the day, after exploring the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, we stopped at the Carrefour Market and picked up all the fixings for an easy al fresco feast. We found two beautiful Orata, amazing fresh basil and tomatoes, a head of cauliflower, greens, jared local olives, a box of sea salt, garlic, and of course a generous portion of fresh mozzarella di bufala, and a bottle of Vesuvio Rosso. The kitchen was already well equipped with olive oil and seasonings.
The Orata was cleaned by the staff at the market, so to prepare, we simply placed both on a bed of salt and baked for about 30-40 minutes at 200°C.
We baked the cauliflower in the oven with the Orata on a different shelf, sprinkled crushed garlic and drizzled with olive oil.
We used the greens, olives, tomatoes, and basil to toss ourselves a great salad, and made a classic caprese salad as well with the basil, tomatoes, and sliced mozzarella di bufala, and dressed with olive oil.
Prep time less than an hour. Lacking napkins, we used toilet paper! The ambience was perfect, the wine amazing, the food incredible – and ALL regional.
Get inspired, go visit your local farmer’s market, grab a knockoff bottle of wine, and dine al fresco tonight!