722 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego
I have been cooking all my life since I lived in Italy. I cooked for a big restaurant there and we did a lot of weddings. I also served in the Army and was a cook. Back then, everyone had to serve in the Italian army. It wasn’t like the American army. They didn’t pay us. I was in Naples for three months and served for a year in Bologna, where I worked in a hotel. Bologna is famous for its fresh pasta, and I learned a lot that year.
I moved to the United States when I was 24. I lived in New Jersey and back then, I didn’t speak English. One night, a customer, who ate in the restaurant almost every night and spoke Italian, told me that he wanted to open a restaurant and he wanted me to be his chef. So, six months after I came to America, I had my own restaurant.
I eventually left New Jersey for San Diego. It’s so beautiful here, like paradise. It is like being in Sicily. I grew up in Palermo and the climate is much like California.
I am always a cook, now. I’m always in the kitchen. I love to barbeque and use my wood-fire oven to make pizzas. We make roast pork, homemade pasta, whatever. My kids love pasta. We do a lot of broccoli rabe and salads in the summer. And I love fish any time of year. Over winter, I serve fish over mashed potatoes and in the summer it goes so well with steamed broccoli or spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
- 1 cup of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 apple, cut in four pieces
- 1 orange, cut in four pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 - 8 oz center cuts ahi tuna loin
- Cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- Sautéed spring vegetables, broccoli rabe, or arugula
HOW TO DO IT
In a medium saucepan add soy sauce, sugar, apple, and orange. Heat to a boil and reduce until the mixture forms a syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside. If possible leave the reduction overnight for more flavor and then pour through a strainer into a bowl and reserve.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. While the oil heats, generously season the ahi cuts with cayenne, pepper, and salt. Pan-sear the ahi for two minutes each side and then remove ahi from heat. Drizzle with the soy reduction and serve with steamed or sautéed vegetables.