Quick guide to Italian ingredients: friggitelli and San Daniele

prosciutto e melone



Summer is well and truly cooking in Italy, with temperatures temperatures of 28-38°C roasting the Italian people and anyone else brave enough to enter the Mediterranean kitchen. Now is the time to take advantage of the amazing variety of produce that the hot weather brings as well as to eat lighter, more refreshing meals as the weather suppresses your appetite. Here at La Madera we’re doing a lot of al fresco dining to take advantage of the evening breezes which roll down the mountainside after the sun has set. Here’s a little taste of what we’ve been eating.



Friggitelli is the Tuscan name for a kind of chilli pepper (Capiscum annuum). They are long, green and mild and are very common throughout the summer, thriving as they do in the Tuscan climate. I had a small plant last year that kept on giving right through to the end of the season in such abundance that I ended up freezing bag fulls. You can eat friggitelli raw in salads, but a very common way to eat them is oven roasted for about 15 minutes covered in olive oil, breadcrumbs and grated parmigiano reggiano cheese. Delicious!

prosciutto san daniele
Prosciutto San Daniele


Another classic Italian summer combination is melon and cured ham. My favourite version is the musk melon (cucumis melo) paired with prosciutto San Daniele. Less famous outside Italy than its cousin prosciutto di Parma, within Italy San Daniele is considered to be of the highest quality with a price to match. Produced in the north-eastern region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, it’s had protected DOP status since 1970. In fact, it’s named for the town of San Daniele di Friuli in the province of Udine. San Daniele ham is cured with sea salt alone and then dried using the unique micro-climate of the region. The ham itself can come from any of the northern Italian regions, but the processing must take place in the San Daniele. The result is a reddish-pink ham with sweet taste and a soft texture. Indeed it’s often cut with a knife rather than a slicing machine to take advantage of this.

Prosciutto San Daniele



What are your favourite summer evening dishes?


19 thoughts on “Quick guide to Italian ingredients: friggitelli and San Daniele”

  1. That’s exactly what we’re about to have for lunch! Except, our prosciutto crudo is from Montagnana, which is the local one here in the Euganean Hills and around Este. But I agree that San Daniele is very special.

  2. My mouth is watering. I’ll have to get a melon and some prosciutto (not the same here but it will have to do) in my shopping this morning.

  3. I’d love some fiori di zucca ripieni di ricotta..or just a nice plate of cullatello, pecorino tartufo da pienza, and some lardo with a nice glass of chianti or brunello wine

    1. Luca Marchiori

      Mmm! I have a recipe for fiori di zucca ripieni coming very soon. I’m hungry now … Where’s the brunello?

      1. I have a few cases stored away 🙂 can’t wait for your recipe…my neighbors grows zucchini and i have been known to sneak over in the early mornings and clip off his flowers to fry up later

      2. Luca Marchiori

        I an sure they have more than they can use. A few plants go a long way in terms of flowers.

    1. Luca Marchiori

      They are exquisite. Almost as good as the fiori di zucca. A trio of recipes for those coming very, very soon!

      1. Luca Marchiori

        Haha. Didn’t like to say. I think fiori di yucca are something quite different 😉

  4. I had fiori di zucca tonight cooked in a pan on the bbq. They were stuffed with cheese and mint. Mmmmmmm. I’ll be in Roma on Monday night and will head straight out to buy some suppli. I can taste them already🍴 Then when I get to Puglia it will be fresh mozzarella, pomodorini e basilico. Now I’m hungry!

      1. What a brilliant idea! I have to use up the ones in my garden before I leave and a frittata sounds perfect. In Roma I always buy pizza with fiori di zucca at the pizza al taglio. Would you believe that here in Canada everyone just puts them in the compost! Che peccata! I wrote a post last year on them to spread the love, but sadly it wasn’t very popular ☹️

      2. Luca Marchiori

        It’s only here in Italy that people seem to eat them. I once tried to buy them at a market in Paris and the stallholder looked at me as if I was crazy. One of Italy’s best kept secrets. Will look up that post and see if we can get it more views 🙂

      3. I saw them at the farmers market here only once and they cost $1 each! Crazy! I made a frittata before I left for the airport and it was delicious! I’m in Roma waiting for my bus to Puglia so I am on my way to lots of fiori di zucca. Yum.

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