Guest post: Hummus

The fact that I find myself contributing to a cooking blog surprise/ most likely elicit laughter from the friends and family that know me best, quite simply because I don’t really know how to cook. While my sister is the chef, I am the steadfast taste tester, roles that developed quite early on and that have comfortably suited us both. Identical twins seem to share parallel lives, at least initially - same school, same friends, same strengths and weaknesses - and my sister and I are no different. When Francesca first took to cooking, it was a way to finally, in some small way, set ourselves apart, and I watched happily as she forged her her way through gourmet burgers stuffed with goat cheese, slow-roasted tomato soup, homemade pumpkin gnocchi and layer cakes, recipes that few high schoolers would tackle. Family lore includes stories of my sister’s culinary greatness, tucked in between my failed experiments: the time I took two hours to make a boyfriend pizza with pre-made crust (I ended up searing it, crisp on the outside, raw in the middle), or the Thanksgiving I added baking soda to my corn bread mix instead of baking powder. 

Occhi di bue

I tend to divide the things I love about Rome into two categories: there are the big things, the obvious things, like the fact that I live down the street from St. Peter’s, and that the Coliseum and Spanish Steps are just a few subway stops away. Then there are the smaller things, which are part of my daily routine in Rome; going to the outdoor market in Testaccio* on the weekend, trying out a new restaurant that’s supposed to have great amatriciana, or stopping by one of my favorite bakeries (pasticcerie) in the morning.

Salmon with Mustard Rosemary Glaze

Though I love to cook and am always up for trying out new recipes, I’ve realized that I generally gravitate towards pasta, risotto, and dessert. While I don’t think you can ever have enough of any of these, I do admit that this tendency has left me slightly unbalanced as a cook – my repertoire of secondi (“second course” dishes) is small, and the secondi that I know are made with meat (like this saltimbocca alla romana) instead of fish. Though I think I’m a pretty good cook, seafood tends to be my culinary Achilles heel –  I can count on one hand the times I’ve made it at home, and even then it is usually something simple like sautéed shrimp, which is then served over pasta. I very rarely order fish or seafood in restaurants, and we didn’t eat much of it at home when I was growing up. Besides, I’d always assumed fish was something that people on a diet had to eat, a bland dish in desperate need of a lemon wedge on the side or some butter and breadcrumbs to spruce it up. 

Seeing as how one of my resolutions this New Year was to step out of my culinary comfort zone and prepare dishes I wouldn’t normally think of making, I decided to try out this recipe for salmon. Besides the fact that it was extremely simple to make – just a matter of stirring together the glaze ingredients and baking the salmon in the oven – I’m pleased to say that it was every bit as satisfying and filling as my usual primo, not to mention a bit lighter and more nutritious. The glaze is absolutely delicious (I happen to love rosemary) not to mention it is a good option for those of you still trying to keep up your New Year’s resolution to eat better . I served this with sautéed spinach, but roast potatoes, arugula, or broccoli would be good too. Enjoy!


1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 3/4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves 
1 tablespoon white wine 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 
6 (6 ounce) salmon fillets

In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the salmon to make the mustard glaze. Set aside. 
Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease the foil lightly with olive oil. Put the salmon fillets on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Broil the salmon for 2 minutes. Spoon the mustard glaze over the fillets and continue broiling until the fillets are just cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the fillets to plates and serve immediately. Serves 6. 

Recipe adapted from (Giada Di Laurentiis)