In Bitter Honey, seasoned chef Letitia Clark invites us into her home on one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea—Sardinia. The recipes in this book do not take long to make, but you can taste the ethos behind every one of them—one which invites you to slow down, and nourish yourself with fresh food, friends and family.
The importance of eating well is even more pronounced here on this forgotten island. Try your hand at Roasted eggplants with honey, mint, garlic and burrata, or a fresh, zesty salad of Celery, orange, anchovy and hazelnut, followed by Malloreddus (the shell-shaped pasta from the region) with crab, saffron and tomato.
Each recipe and the story behind it will transport you to the glittering, turquoise waters and laid-back lifestyle of this Italian paradise. With beautiful design, photography, full-colour illustrations and joyful anecdotes throughout, Bitter Honey is a vacation, a cookbook and a window onto a covetable lifestyle in the sun—all rolled into one.
Fried Ravioli with Cheese and Honey
Also known as Sebadas, this is Sardinia’s most iconic dessert. These pastries are a celebration of the simplicity and quality of Sardinian produce: more specifically, cheese and honey.
Traditionally a fresh pecorino is used, which is only aged for a few days and allowed to become slightly sour, then seasoned with lemon zest and encased in a lard-based pastry.
The cheesy parcel is then deep-fried until it blisters and puffs and is served, golden and glistening, bathed in honey. Often the honey is the famous miele di corbezzolo, which has a slight bitter-sweetness; chestnut honey works well too.
If you dislike lard, you can use olive oil or butter, and if you can’t find fresh pecorino, try to find fresh sheeps’, goats’ or cows’ cheese. What is important is that it is rubbery rather than creamy, as this is what gives it the stringy texture when melted.
For the pastry
pinch of sea salt
100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) 00 flour, plus 1 tablespoon for the filling
100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) semolina
20 g (¾ oz) lard, at room temperature
For the filling
260 g (9 oz) fresh pecorino, cut into small pieces
zest of 1 lemon
sea salt (optional)
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
honey, for drizzling
Add the salt and 100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup) water to the flour and semolina and knead together to form a smooth dough. Now knead in the lard. This should take a good few minutes of steady kneading.
Wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and rest for 30 minutes. Melt the cheese very gently in a bain-marie. When it starts to form one gooey mass, add a spoonful of flour to soak up the liquid that has seeped out. Stir gently and add the lemon zest – if using fresh pecorino, add a pinch of salt here too if you like. When the cheese mixture has come together into one melty mass, tip it onto a clean baking (cookie) sheet, spread in into an even layer 1 cm (½ in) thick, and leave to cool and set. Meanwhile, roll out your pastry to 1 mm thickness, using either flour or semolina if it gets sticky. Cut circles using a biscuit cutter, around the size of a large orange or small grapefruit. Using a smaller cutter or a glass tumbler if you don’t have one, cut smaller circles of the cheese; by now it should be solid. Place the circle of cheese in the centre of the circles of dough. Brush around them with a damp pastry brush. Place another circle of pastry on top to sandwich the cheese, and then press down to form little parcels. Seal them well (I cut them into circles again at this point using a ravioli cutter to get nice, even, crinkly edges). Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and keep in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve.
When you are ready to cook, bring your oil to frying temperature, 190ºC (375ºF). Delicately place the seadas in the oil and fry them until they are golden and crisp. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and drain them quickly on kitchen paper. Serve, drizzled with honey.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant.