Dining With the Saints in Honor of Carnevale


Carnevale literally means ‘good-bye to the flesh’ and this celebratory time of the year, coming right before the restraints of Lent, is when the people of Venice, Italy (and people throughout the Christian world) go to great excesses. Here is their last chance to over eat and carry on with other hedonistic activities until ash Wednesday, when fasting begins. Carnevale also symbolizes the agricultural year put to rest until the spring earth begins again to pour forth its abundance.

Carnevale in Venice is a blaze of color and activity with people drinking prosecco in the streets, stylish balls held on the piazza, fireworks, elaborate floats, and masked processions on the Grand Canal. Masks supposedly give the partying wearer the amnominity to engage in excesses of all types without being recognized.

If you’d like to celebrate Carnevale, Venetian style, an elegant pork dish is really in order. Here’s my version of  a recipe from the Veneto for maile al latte, pork cooked in milk. It’s made with a boneless pork loin so it’s very tender and easy to carve. Serve it with sautéed greens such as spinach or Swiss chard, and a glass or two of Valpolicella.

Maiale al Latte

(Serves six)

An approximately 2 pound boneless pork loin, tied

3 garlic cloves, slivered

10 fresh sage leaves, cut into strips, plus about 5 extra leaves, lightly chopped, for garnish

The zest from 1 small lemon, cut into thin strips


Freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Extra virgin olive oil

½ quart whole milk, heated to just boiling

Make a bunch of slits all over the pork with a thin knife. Insert the garlic, sage, and lemon strips into the slits. Season the pork well with salt, black pepper, and the nutmeg.

In a high sided casserole, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame. Add the pork and brown it all over. Now pour on the hot milk, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, turning the meat occasionally, until it is just cooked through, about an hour. When the pork is done, the milk will have cooked down to a mass of curdles. This is what you want.

Remove the pork to a cutting board and let it sit for a few minutes. Take off the string and slice in thinly. Lay the pork out on a platter. Spoon the milk curds on top, leaving any that have become too browned in the casserole. Garnish with the remaining sage. Serve hot or warm.

Erica De Mane is a writer and chef. Check out her blog: EricaDeMane.com

Dining With the Saint in Honor of Saint Martin of Tours

The Feast of St. Martin of Tours, or Martin le Misercordieux, is a time for celebration in many parts of the Catholic world. The feast, celebrated on November 11th, not only coincides with the end of All Soul’s but with the Fall harvest, a time when autumn wheat seeding is completed, when the new wine is just ready to drink, and with the beginning of winter preparations, which include putting up the last of the warm weather vegetables and butchering and preserving of animals. This is a celebration of the earth’s bounty, much like Thanksgiving is in the United States. Goose is part of the traditional St. Martin’s Day festival in many countries since the goose is a symbol of St. Martin himself. Legend has it that as he was hiding from the people who wanted to make him bishop, a honking goose gave away his hiding spot.

Goose used to be a standard Thanksgiving or Christmas offering in many American homes, but cooking a whole goose can be tricky and the amount of fat thrown off I think has put off some of today’s more health conscious cooks. I’ve learned that cooking a goose breast instead of dealing with the whole goose is a fast and leaner way to prepare this delicious meat, and a boneless breast is very easy to slice and serve. My butcher sells boned goose breasts around the holidays. If your local butcher doesn’t generally carry this cut, he might be able to special order one for you.

Stuffed Goose Breast with Calvados and Apples

(serves four as a main course)

1 whole goose breast, boned, with skin

6 large fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped

12 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup dry white wine


Freshly ground black pepper

2 large shallots, diced

4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes

2 big splashes of Calvados (apple brandy)

½ cup dry bread crumbs, not too finely ground

6 big gratings of nutmeg

A handful of flat leaf Italian parsley, leaves chopped

1 large egg

Place the goose breast in a ceramic or glass baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the rosemary, thyme, about ¼ cup olive oil, and the white wine. Season with salt and black pepper and pour this over the goose, turning the breast over in the marinade to coat it well. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Pre-heat the oven the 425 degrees.

In a large sauté pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium flame. Add the shallots and the apples and sauté until the apples are just tender when poked with a fork, but not falling apart. Add a splash of Calvados and let it bubble for about 30 seconds. Let this cool. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, nutmeg, and the egg. Season with salt and black pepper and mix everything well. Drizzle on a little extra olive oil if it seems dry.

Remove the goose from the marinade and lay it out, skin side down, on a work surface. Press the stuffing out evenly over the goose and roll it up lengthwise, tying it with butcher’s twine in 4 or 5 places. Place the goose back in the roasting pan, skin side up. Add a splash of calvados to the bottom of the pan, stirring it into the remaining marinade. Spoon some of the marinade over the goose. Roast for about 40-45 minutes, or until the temperature in the middle of the breast reaches 145-150 degrees. Let it rest about 10 minutes before carving.


Erica DeMane is a writer and chef.  Read her blog at EricaDemane.com.

Image: “Saint Martin of Tours by El Greco

Dining With the Saints in Honor of Padre Pio

The Feast Day of Padre Pio

Feast Day: September 23

Padre Pio was born in 1887 in Pietrelcina, a town right in the center of Southern Italy, in the region of Campania. He is by far the most popular Saint of this area. I remember in the late 1970’s when the Italian streets were being terrorized by the Red Brigades, hardly any Italian South of Rome would leave their home without carrying a card or photo of Padre Pio on their body.

 Padre Pio is a worthy follower of Saint Francis of Assisi. Charity was his calling. He gave himself to the poor, the suffering, and the sick. In later years he committed himself to relieving the pain and suffering of many families in Southern Italy, chiefly through the foundation of the Casa Sollievo della Soferenze, opened in 1956. Padre Pio was canonized by John Paul 11 in 2002, 34 years after his death. September 23 is his feast day.

 My family’s hometown is right over the boarder into Puglia, not far from Peitrelcina and very close to San Giovanni Rotonda, the Capuchin Monastery where Father Pio lived and worked for 52 years and died. Since his canonization this still active Monastery has also served as his shrine and holy site. His body is on display here and many walking paths, statues, a beautiful staircase, and contemplative gardens have been designed for all the pilgrims who visit every year. The last time I went to my ancestral town, I decided to visit this shrine myself. The monastery is situated on the Gargano, a gorgeous mountainous region in Northern Puglia that’s known for their rustic food such as wild boar, wild mushrooms, meat ragus, and sausages. After visiting Padre Pio’s beautiful monastery and grounds, I stopped at one of the food trucks set up at the holy site and ordered pork sausages grilled with rosemary branches and served on grilled bread. It was delicious. Here’s my slightly more elaborate take on that simple lunch. It’s a great Southern Italian dish to celebrate Padre Pio’s feast day.


Italian Sausages with Grilled Grapes and Rosemary

Buy two or three Italian pork sausages per person. Place them on a medium grill about 3 or 4 inches from the flame, and grill them, turning them several times, until they’re browned all over and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the sausages are grilling, place a large handful of seedless red grapes, a few small sprigs of chopped rosemary, a generous drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few grindings of black pepper on a large piece of aluminum foil. Close up the foil, and place the package on a low-heat area of the grill. Heat just until the grapes are fragrant and starting to soften and give off juice, about 4 minutes. Place the sausages on a serving platter, and pour the grapes on top, along with any juices they’ve thrown off. Give everything a drizzle of fresh olive oil and serve hot with slices of grilled Italian bread that have been rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil.

By Erica DeMane, Writer and Chef

Read Erica’s blog: EricaDeMane.com

Dining With the Saints


 The Feast of Saint Anne

Saint Anne, mother of Mary, grandmother to Jesus, is the Patron Saint of Brittany.  According to local tradition, after the resurrection of Christ, Mary Magdalene, her brother Lazarus and other apostles were driven from Jerusalem because of their faith. They journeyed by boat carrying the remains of Saint Anne with them. They landed on the French coast and the people of Brittany were particularly strong believers in Saint Anne’s cult. The great shrine of Saint Anne d’Auray was built for her there in 1623. It became such a popular retreat, French missionaries coming to Canada built a shrine in its likeness, Saint Anne de Beaupre, near Quebec several years later. Both are still important pilgrimage sites to this day. 

Her feast day of July 26th is celebrated in Brittany by preparing shellfish, one of the culinary glories of the Brittany coast. Lobsters, oysters,  mussels, clams are all fashioned into beautiful dishes with Northern French flavors. I’ve chosen this fragrant mussel preparation because the mix of the briny shellfish juices, shallots, tarragon, white wine, and the thick crème fraiche is a time-honored combination and absolutely delicious. If you can’t find crème fraiche, just add a little heavy cream and a grating of lemon zest instead.

Brittany Style Mussels with Shallots, Tarragon, and Crème Fraiche

(Serves six a first course)

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

2 pounds well washed black mussels

½ cup fruity white wine

Freshly ground black pepper

A pinch of salt

½ cup crème fraiche

About 10 large tarragon sprigs, leaves very lightly chopped

In a large pot, heat half of the butter over medium flame. Add the shallots and let them soften for a minute. Add the mussels and the garlic and stir everything around for a moment. Add the white wine and give it another stir. Cook, uncovered, stirring a few times, until the mussels open, about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the crème fraiche, the remaining butter, the tarragon, and a bit more freshly ground black pepper, and stir well. Serve right away, in big bowls, with lots of good French bread to soak up the sauce.

Dining With the Saints

The Feast of Saint Peter and Paul

Many people have experienced eating prosciutto with ripe summer cantaloupe. It’s an Italian flavor combination made in heaven. Even when prosciutto is scarce, Italians, even my father and grandfather, would just sprinkle a bit of salt on cantaloupe knowing it would bring out the fruits’ sweetness.

One of the most ancient feasts observed by Christians is the Feast of San Pietro e Paolo (Saints Peter and Paul) on June 28th and 29th, honoring the martyrdom of these two influential Apostles. Celebrations vary from region to region, but the town ofViadanainLombardyholds a very special sagra of prosciutto, cantaloupe, and their slightly sweet and fizzy Lambrusco wine, highlighting some of the areas most prized food products. The dense, orange fleshed melon got its name form Cantalupo in the Savine region, where it was grown in the papal gardens. The beautiful fruit then spread to other areas ofItaly, traveling from one papal property to another. Inside Viadana’s 17th century church hangs a painting of the town patron surrounded by cantaloupes.

In honor of this very special feast, I’ve turned toLombardyfor inspiration and created a summer salad using cantaloupe, prosciutto, and Lambrusco, all three of the fine products this region celebrates for its festival.


Cantaloupe Salad with Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Lambrusco Vinaigrette

(Serves four as a first course or as a lunch dish)

For the vinaigrette:

¼ cup Lambrusco wine

1 tablespoon Spanish sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Black pepper

1 small ripe cantaloupe, scooped out with a melon baller (about 2 cups)

1 pint grape tomatoes

About a dozen bocconicini mozzarella

¼ lb. prosciutto, cut into thin strips

1 large bunch of frisee, ripped into pieces

1 shallot, thinly sliced

A handful of small basil leaves, left whole

To make the vinaigrette, pour the Lambrusco into a small saucepot and boil it over high heat until you have about a tablespoon (you can use another semi-sweet wine instead if you like). Let this cool for a few minutes. Now whisk in the sherry vinegar and the olive oil and season it with salt and black pepper.

Place all the ingredients for the salad in a large salad bowl. Pour on the viniagrette and toss gently. Serve right away.

(Dining with the Saints is a monthly column written by Erica De Mane, cookbook writer and teacher. You can find her food blog at www.ericademane.com)

Dining With the Saints

The Feast of San Isidro

One of the most important holidays in Madrid is held on May 15, the Feast Day of San Isidro, the city’s patron Saint and also the patron Saint of farmers. The festival is celebrated in the Pradera del Santo, a large, open square in the heart of the city.

San Isidro had a long life, born in Madrid in 1082 and living ninety years. Legend has it that San Isidro miraculously made a spring gush by banging the ground while he was ploughing. A hermitage dedicated to him was built on this spot in 1528. Drinking fresh spring water is still a tradition observed by the people of Madrid on his Saint’s Day.

Another tradition is baking rosquilles, a ring shaped doughnut flavored with anise. There are two types; one is called listas, which means smart and it’s coated in sugar, the other, a plainer version, is referred to as tontas, meaning stupid. Make of that what you will. Both are delicious.

Here’s a recipe for smart rosquilles


3 large eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

¾ cup melted butter

3/4 cup Anisette

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Extra virgin olive oil for frying

In a large bowl, add the eggs, the milk, the melted butter, the anisette, and ½ cup of the sugar. Mix well and then add the flour and the baking powder, little by little until you have a thick dough. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until it’s smooth. Flatten out the dough and cut in into strips. Shape the strips into little rings about 2 inches in diameter.

Set up a large pot and fill it with olive oil about 5 inches deep. Heat over medium flame until hot. Drop in the dough rings a few at a time and fry until golden. Lay them out on paper towels for a minute to soak up excess oil and then roll them in the remaining sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Dining With the Saints is written by writer and chef Erica DeMane. Visit her at EricaDeMane.com.

Dining With the Saints

Homemade Ricotta for Easter

So many traditional Southern Italian Easter dishes use ricotta as a foundation, and these are some of the glories of the Italian kitchen. Pastiera, the sweet ricotta pie studded with wheat berries and perfumed with orange flower water is in my opinion a work of genius. My mother’s family made something similar using rice instead of the wheat, creating a kind of crustless, firm pudding that was cut into squares.  Pizza rustica, the savory version of ricotta cake, stuffed with little chunks of  provolone and salami, and ravioloni filled with ricotta and finished with butter and fresh sage are two other dishes that showed up on our Easter table when I was a kid.

If you’ve never made your own home-made ricotta, Easter is a great time for you to start. There are few things, culinarily speaking, that are easier and that produce such huge rewards for the cook.  Nothing you can buy is comparable to your own home-made, still warm ricotta, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, or with honey and a sprinkling of nutmeg, or folded into a bowl of al dente spaghetti, or used to make any of the elegant Easter dishes, such as pastiera, that I mentioned earlier.

Even though traditional ricotta is made by recooking whey leftover from cheese making, you can make a wonderful version at home using whole milk. It involves adding an acid, like lemon, to whole milk, and gently heating it until it curdles. You don’t need any fancy equipment; just a big pot and a piece of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, and possibly a kitchen thermometer as a security blanket, if it’s your first time.

In my book The Flavors of Southern Italy I give a sort of standard recipe for homemade ricotta using lemon juice.  Almost everyone I know makes it this way. The results are good but occasionally can be a little drier than I like. In the several years since I wrote that recipe, I’ve continued to experiment with ricotta making and have decided that adding buttermilk instead of lemon as the curdling agent gives a moister result. I’ve even gone ahead and added a little heavy cream, so the ricotta is extra rich and soft.

Homemade Ricotta for Easter

(Makes about 4 cups)


1 gallon whole milk

1 pint heavy cream (optional but recommended)

1 quart buttermilk

1teaspoon salt

Put all the ingredients in a large, nonreactive pot (stainless steel or enamel both work well), and place it on a medium flame. Let it heat, uncovered, stirring once or twice, until little bubbles form on the surface. This will take about 10 minutes or so. Then let it bubble, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. You’ll see curds start to form and will notice the liquidy whey just starting to separate from the solids. The temperature should get up to 170 degrees (a kitchen thermometer is helpful the first few times, until you get the feel of it). Turn off the heat, and let the pot sit there, undisturbed, for 10 minutes (don’t be tempted to stir; it’ll break up the curds while they’re forming). You’ll now notice the faintly greenish whey separating more cleanly from the white curds. Gently pour the mix into a strainer lined with cheesecloth (or into a fine mesh strainer), scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck-on ricotta. Let drain until all the whey runs off but the cheese is still moist.

I love eating it still warm, but the ricotta will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

(Erica De Mane is a writer and chef. Visit her website: EricaDemane.com)

Image: “The Last supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, 1497.

Dining With the Saints

The Feast of San Giuseppe

Feast Day: March 19

Husband of Mary and patron saint of the family, St. Joseph is one of the most revered Saints in the Catholic world. His feast day on March 19th is just about the biggest feast holiday in Italy. Almost every town celebrates by preparing fritelle, sometimes called zeppole (he is also the patron Saint of pastry cooks), and there are myriad versions of these fried puffs, most of them stuffed with a sweet filling that can be ricotta based or a flavored pastry cream. My next door neighbor, whose family is from Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, makes one that’s loaded with a velvety lemon custard. As excellent as these pastries are, this is not the only food made for this huge feast day.

Altars are decorated with labor intensive, highly decorated breads (some shaped into crowns of thorns and crucifixes). St. Joseph’s day is celebrated at the spring solstice and the offering of bread, the ritual of mixing pounded grain and water, symbolizes the powers of fertility and the riches of the earth.

Pasta with sardines or calamari, baccala in many incarnations, arancini, prosciutto and salumi, seasonal vegetables, such as artichokes, wild asparagus and fennel, appear in many dishes. Each area of Italy offers up the best of its local produce and creations, in some regions up to one hundred dishes are typical outpourings of food centered devotion. Too much is never enough for the adoration of this most beloved Saint and it’s a welcome break coming in the middle of Lent. In Molise there’s a ritual lunch of a relatively modest thirteen courses, most of which are based on fish and pasta. Pasta with anchovies in various incarnations is one of the traditional dishes always served. Here’s a version of this great dish that I’ve always loved.

Bucatini with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Walnuts

(Serves five as a first course)



Extra virgin olive oil

1 pound bucatini

3 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 large garlic clove, very thinly sliced

8 salt packed anchovies, filleted, briefly soaked to remove excess salt, and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

A few large marjoram sprigs, leaves chopped

A large handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves lightly chopped

A chunk of Pecorino Toscano


Set up a large pot of pasta cooking water and bring it to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and add the bucatini.


In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high flame. When very hot add the tomatoes and the garlic and cook quickly, just until the tomatoes start giving off some juice, about 5 minutes. Add the anchovies, seasoning with a little salt and more liberally with black pepper, and sauté a minute longer. Turn off the heat and add the walnuts and the marjoram.


When al dente, drain the bucatini, saving about ½ cup of the cooking water, and transfer it into a warmed serving bowl. Add the bucatini, the parsley, about a tablespoon of grated pecorino, a drizzle of fresh olive oil, and give it a toss, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if needed to loosen the sauce. Bring the chunk of pecorino to the table. Serve hot.


Painting: ‘San Giuseppe’   by Guido Reni 1635

Saint Joseph’s Day Altar from New Orleans, Louisiana

More on Saint Joseph

Novena to Saint Joseph

“Dining With the Saints” is a monthly column by Writer and Chef Erica DeMane. Visit her website at: EricaDeMane.com



Dining With the Saints

File:Fra Angelico 074.jpg

Blessed Fra Angelico

The early Italian Renaissance painter Fra Angelico (1395-1455) was a priest and a master in creating lush, gorgeously colored religious scenes. In his book ‘The Life of the Artists’, Vasari describes him as having “a rare and perfect talent”. As a result of his artistry and piety, Pope John Paul 11 beautified him in 1982.

His namesake Liqueur is a work of art in its own right. The hazelnut flavored drink dates back about three hundred years to early Christian monks living in the hills of Northern Italy. Even though Fra Angelico was a Dominican, it’s widely believed the liqueur was named after him.

This year to celebrate the work of this amazing artist, I’ve created a winter salad using the lovely Fra Angelico liqueur as a base for a vinaigrette.  I hope you will have an opportunity to gaze at some of his art (The Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan owns ‘The Crucifixion’) and possibly make this salad on February 18th, his feast day.

Orange and Hazelnut Salad with Fra Angelico Vinaigrette


(Serves two)


1 medium head of frisee, torn into pieces

A few sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves lightly chopped

2 small oranges, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

A handful of peeled and very fresh hazelnuts

1 small shallot, very thinly sliced


For the vinaigrette:


1 tablespoon Fra Angelico liqueur

The grated zest from 1 orange

1 teaspoon Spanish wine vinegar

A pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons hazelnut oil


Place all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.


In a small bowl, add the Fra Angelico, the orange zest, and the vinegar. Season it with salt and black pepper. Whisk in the hazelnut oil, pour this over the salad and toss. Divide it up onto two salad plates and serve right away.


Top Image: Detail from “The Deposition of Christ” by Fra Angelico, thought to be a self portrait painted between 1437 and 1446.

“Dining With the Saints” is a monthly column by writer and chef, Erica DeMane. Check out her website: EricaDeMane.com.

Dining With the Saints

The Feast of San Sebastian

The image of San Sebastian, his young body riddled with arrows, is a strikingly familiar one to religious and non-believers alike. He was martyred for converting Christians, but has also become in recent times a symbol for the persecution of homosexuals, and his image is used in much gay art and literature.

He is a patron saint of athletes because of his physical endurance (he actually recovered from his arrow wounds), and for his energetic way of spreading and defending the faith. Saint Sebastian is also patron to all soldiers.

La Tamborrada is celebrated in the town of San Sebastian in Basque Spain on January 20th, San Sebastian’s feast day. This is a loud and exuberant affair where the people hit the streets to a crescendo of drum and barrel playing. The action starts at midnight on the 19th in the Parte Vieja (the old quarter) when the mayor raises the city’s flag in Plaza Konstituzioa.

People dress as soldiers and march around the town accompanied by their ear bending percussion. But the ceremony has also taken on a culinary tradition in more recent years. Nobody is completely sure why this connection was made, but people also dress as chefs and marchers representing San Sebastian’s gastronomic societies, most of which only allow male members, are always present. As you can imagine food has become the theme of this celebration and many Basque specialties are offered. One of my favorites is this traditional dish of braised tuna with potatoes and the region’s famous dried chilies. Many fine Basque wines are consumed during this festival. If you’d like to try one to accompany this lovely dish, see if you can locate a Txacoli, a crisp white DO wine from the province of Getariako Txakolina.


(Serves five as a main course)

2 dried ancho chiles

Spanish extra virgin olive oil (such as Nunez de Prado)

1 large sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, cut into medium dice

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

5 or 6 large thyme sprigs, leaves chopped

3 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

½ tablespoon Piment d’Espelette (Basque semi-spicy paprika)


1 ½ pounds fresh tuna, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

A handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, lightly chopped

Place the chilies in a small saucepan and cover them with water. Bring this to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and let the chilies sit in the water until softened, about ½ hour. Now slit them open and seed them. Scrape out all the flesh with a sharp knife and set it aside (you’ll have a little pile of soft chili paste).

In a large casserole heat about ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the pepper strips and sauté until they’re just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Now add the garlic, thyme, potatoes, the reserved chili paste, and the Piment d’ Espelette. Season with salt and sauté for a minute to blend all the flavors.  Now add warm water to cover by about 2 inches. Cover the casserole, turn the heat down a bit and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Uncover the casserole and add the tuna. Turn off the heat and let it stand on the turned off burner for 5 minutes (the residual heat from the casserole will cook the tuna through gently. Now add a generous drizzle of fresh olive oil.

Let the casserole sit, off the burner for another 5 minutes or so to develop flavor. If you like, you can mash up a few of the potato cubes to thicken the sauce. Add the parsley. Serve in warmed soup bowls with bread that has been toasted, rubbed with a cut garlic clove and brushed with Spanish olive oil.

Dining With the Saints is written by Chef and Writer, Erica DeMane. Find her at her website: EricaDemane.com

Painting:”Martyrdom of  Saint Sebastian” by Il Sodoma (Giovanni Antonio Bazzi) 1525

Bottom photo: Feast Day of Saint Sebastian as celebrated in San Sebastian, Spain.