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Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Mezzetta but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I was recently invited to join an event at the Mezzetta Table in my neighborhood. It was a fantastic opportunity to taste renowned chef-prepared dishes, featuring Mezzetta peperoncini; and as if that weren’t enough, I left with a basket full of amazing Mezzetta products. The people, the ambiance, the food were simply unforgettable.
I have partnered with Mezzetta to create this super fresh and simple Horiatiki Salad with Golden Greek Peperoncini. As a result, all my readers have a chance to win the Grand Prize of a 52 Meal Kit for two, from CHEF’D (a $1,560 Value). 10 Runners up will receive a $50 Chef’d Gift Card. Every entrant will get a 10% discount on any Chef’d order. Click HERE for a chance to win.
But the relationship with Mezzetta didn’t end there. I was also invited for this amazing pop-up event at the Mezzetta Table and had the opportunity to meet likeminded foodies from the industry, during which time we were all treated to an amazing menu of food and drinks. What beats that?
The event took place at a private residence and was hosted by famous chef Michael Psilakis – who owns number of Greek restaurants in the New York City area (like Fish Tag and MP Taverna) – and Laura Vitale – known from her very popular Youtube channel ‘Laura in the Kitchen,’ and also as a host of the show ‘Simply Laura,’ on the Cooking Channel. But in addition, I also met some wonderful fellow bloggers: like Morgan, from Lilies and Lambs and Chelsey, from Chel Loves Wine.
Chef Michael Psilakis talked about all the dishes served that evening and there were few key points that really resonated with me, and I thought they might be interesting to you too:
- The peperoncini that Mezzetta uses come from the Peloponnese region of Greece. Apparently, this was really close to his heart, as it is in the vicinity of where his mother is from. Actually, Chef Michael clarified that his mother specifically was raised in the Kalamata region – by the way that’s were Kalamata olives are coming from – go figure… 🙂
- The fundamentals of cooking that he teaches to all young cooks are the importance of these spices: Salt, Pepper, and ACID. Yup, you heard that right, Chef Michael considers Acid to be a spice. He mentioned that when you incorporate heat, for yet another level of taste, it can be brilliantly balanced by the acid, to take any dish to a whole other level. So, basically when you eat a meal that incorporates peperoncini, you’ll find the fat of the dish that is going to be countered by the “bloom” of the acidity that will wash the fat away and will leave you with this subtle finish of the heat on your palate; which inevitably will make you want to start this roller coaster effect all over again….
Laura Vitale added:
- The peperoncini are harvested right before they are ripe so that they are still a little soft before they brine them. Then, once the brining process is completed, the pepper still has a little bit of texture – it’s still crispy and snappy, and not soft or mushy. Frankly, I agree, I found them to be bright and zesty and of a top-notch quality (more on the dishes served below).
As you can see, there was a lot of talking, and laughing, and eating, and drinking, and simply enjoying the night. I think the photos best tell the story. I will talk about the dishes served below a little bit more. In the meantime enjoy the ambiance and beautiful settings at the Mezzetta Table.
The food and drink menus were incredible.
There was an Antipasto Platter, which by the way I totally love! I can’t stop myself when it comes to peppers or olive, or artichoke, or feta or cured meat… Put this in front of me and I will be really quiet because my mouth will be full. This Antipasto contained the following:
Passed Amuse Bouche
They were SO GOOD!
Spinach Kale fritters with a Mezzetta Peperoncini Aioli….
Spicy Tuna Tacos, with a Mezzetta Peperoncini guacamole….
French Onion Grilled Cheese, with a Mezzetta Peperoncini Tomato jam (seriously if I don’t figure out how to make it, I will have a big problem – these were OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS!!!)
Mini Bistro Sliders, with a Mezzetta Peperoncini relish….
For the appetizer course, we were served Chopped salad, with Mezzetta Whole Peperoncini & Mezzetta Olives, cucumber, tomato, feta, croutons, and basil oregano vinaigrette.
The road forks here: there were 3 options for the entree….
Beer marinated flank steak, Mezzetta Peperoncini, aji, roasted cauliflower
Flank steaks are Chef Micheal Psilakis’ favorite cut of meat. He encouraged everyone who chose this dish to see if they experienced the ‘roller coaster effect,’ which I described above.
Laura Vitale said that a steak dinner tends to be a little heavy, but because the peperoncini was added to the sauce, this heaviness was cut and the dish is all of a sudden vibrant, and it brought the steak to life.
Pan Seared Bronzino, with Mezzetta Peperoncini & Caper Gremolata, and Brussels Sprouts
This was the dish that I picked and I can attest that it was truly incredible! I often make Gremolatas, but it never crossed my mind to add peperoncini and capers to them. I will definitely be incorporating them in the near future though. Laura mentioned that though the fish was dressed in a simple lemon sauce, due to the addition of the Peperoncini it was brought to life. Yet, because the peperoncini is not super spicy, it doesn’t distract from the delicate fish.
Oh and listen to this…There was a lady sitting across the table from me. Her name was Edith (which is equivalent of my name – Edyta, in English, so we easily connected). She was in her seventies and had great-grandchildren. Surprisingly, she told me it was the first time she had ever eaten brussels sprouts in her entire life and vocally asked herself…’What was she thinking?’ I wish my husband would share in that epiphany.
Baked Mezzetta Peperoncini Ziti, with vegetarian Ragu, and Fresh Ricotta
Laura said that pasta will always be close to her heart but she knows that it can also be a little bit heavy. However, by adding peperoncini to the sauce, the pasta can be brighten up and feel much lighter.
Vanilla ice cream topped with Mezzetta Olive Oil & sea salt. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the dessert, I was so busy mingling that I forgot to take photos of it. Frankly though, by that point, they wouldn’t be very good photos anyways, because it was already so dark outside. But it was super delicious, especially served alongside a deep and flavorful espresso.
Laura also made a good point on how easy it was to incorporate the peperoncini to an otherwise simple dish. Which means that you can use your favorite recipe, add some peperoncini, either whole or cut up: to salads, dressings, meat, fish, and take your dish to a totally different level. Brighten Every Bite with Mezzetta Peperoncini. Cheers my friends!!!
And I was sent home with the whole box of goodies. Love that!
I absolutely love pepperoncini, particularly Mezzetta ones. And who would have thought that you can make cocktails using the brine? I’m going to get on that immediately!
I know! Isn’t amazing? Let me know how the cocktails came out for you!
What a wonderful night, those are lovely pictures. My mom first introduced me to pepperonis when I was a kid. We had contest to see how many we could eat. I made it to a full pepper:)
Awesome! I hope you won Tina!
Your pics are so nice,it’s definitely looks like an unforgettable evening.
Elaine @ Dishes Delish
That sounded like a fun time!! Your photos are amazing! I love pepperoncini and would love to try some of these dishes!!
Thanks Elaine. I really want to make this grilled cheese 🙂
What a fun evening and your pictures are lovely! I’m sure it was memorable, educational and a blast!
Yes, it was. Thanks Lisa!