Susan from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and Marc from No Recipes are co-hosting a fun event called Dinner and a Movie. This month’s installment features the 1987 Norman Jewison film Moonstruck.
This delightful romantic comedy features excellent ensemble performances and an Oscar-winning performance from Cher.
She plays a 38-year-old Italian-American widow named Loretta Castorini who says "yes" to her longtime boyfriend Johnny Cammareri's (Danny Aiello) marriage proposal, then falls in love with his estranged brother Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage) when she has to visit him at his bakery in order to invite him to their wedding.
Moonstruck has always been one of my favorite movies, because it portrays a true slice of life in Brooklyn, New York, the place where I have lived my entire life.
Although I'm not Italian, I'm married to a native born Italian, and have many friends of Italian-American descent who live in the Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens neighborhood where scenes from the movie were filmed. When I first saw Moonstruck in the theater years ago I laughed and cried and elbowed my husband with bouts of recognition during a few scenes when something being portrayed was uncannily true to people we knew or situations we've seen happen!
Throughout my 34+ year marriage I've experienced the unconditional love of "alla famigilia," and the Italian- American's love affair with love, food, opera and music, and respect for family and friends. It's alway passionate, never dull!
To see more about Brooklyn Heights you can read some of the blog posts I did about the neighborhood here and here.
It's an historical neighborhood with incredible views across the East River to lower Manhattan.
Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.
This is the beautiful house on Cranberry Street that was used as the Castorini family home in the movie. It sold a few years ago for almost 4 million dollars!
Because I think Moonstruck's Johnny Cammareri was a "baccala" --which is also known as an Italian slang word for a less than smart person -- for letting Loretta's love slip from his life in the movie to his brother Ronny, I prepared my version of "Baccala Florentine" as my dinner recipe.
First I purchased a nice two pound piece of baccala -- preserved salt cod fish.
BACCALA FLORENTINE - A LA MOONSTRUCK
2 lbs. of salt cod --soaked in water at least 48 hours
6 boiled potatoes, peeled, cubed and kept warm
2 cloves of garlic-chopped
1 bunch scallions (green onions) rinsed and chopped
two celery stalks chopped
1 cup black oil cured olives or green Sicilian olives
1 cup vinegar cured green and red peppers chopped
1 tablespoon capers
3 tbs. of tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon dried oregano --more or less to taste
2 teaspoon dried basil or handful of fresh basil leaves if available --more or less to taste
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of flour
pinch of red pepper if desired
Cut fish into 4 inch pieces, and roll it in flour. Heat oil in a skillet, and brown fish on both sides. Set fish aside on a platter and keep warm; add garlic, scallions, and celery to the skillet and saute till soft adding more olive oil if needed. When vegetables are soft add the tomato paste. water and white wine and stir well until paste is dissolved. Add olives, capers, and peppers and stir well. Place fish on top and simmer slowly about 15 minutes. Turn fish over and simmer another 10 minutes making sure the sauce is not sticking to the skillet -- add a little more water or wine if needed. Season with oregano and basil and red pepper flakes to taste. Since the fish was salted I don't add salt to this dish but you can add some to taste if desired.
Serve over boiled, cubed potatoes.
We usually have baccala as part of the Italian tradition of the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" on Christmas Eve, but it is good to eat anytime!
It was fun to revisit a favorite old movie and cook a favorite traditional Italian dinner as part of this event.Thanks Susan and Marc! Be sure to visit their blogs to see more participants of a Dinner and a Movie!
I seem to be doing a lot of cooking lately. Next blog post I'll be back in Manhattan with more interesting sights to show you!