Gino D’Acampo reveals the one thing he banned on Christmas Day – and it’s so unusual

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Georgia Brown



Nobody does Christmas quite similar to Gino D’Acampo, whose decadent family celebration on December 24, according to Italian tradition, is packed with delicious seafood, spicy roasted vegetables, and no traditional turkey in sight.

SALVATION! spoke exclusively to Gino about his new book, Gino’s Italian family adventure, his Christmas family traditions and his favorite festive recipes – all for our Christmas digital number which was edited by the guests Martine mccutcheon.

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Of his most personal cookbook to date, the chef said: “My family and I created it together in Italy during the lockdown, and every recipe is one that has been in our family for generations.”


Martine McCutchen featured on our digital Christmas cover

While in Italy during the pandemic, Gino discovered a blue file in the kitchen that had been hidden for almost six years. “My wife had taken notes on every meal we ate that she enjoyed – some of them are almost 15 years old,” he explained. “It made so much sense to get together as a family, try the recipes again and make a book out of them.”

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Celebrity chef celebrates Christmas on December 24 © Haarala Hamilton

The restaurateur, who normally organizes his recipe books on his own, joked that the conflicting family opinions over which recipes made the cut was not an easy process, before confirming: “It was very special to do it as part of a family project. “

For Gino, nothing is more important than family time and food, which means Christmas is like “just another day” at the D’Acampo house – although his festive menu is anything but traditional.

“I banned turkey in this home. Nobody likes it. It’s dry, it’s tasteless. Why would anyone pick the best day of the year to eat the worst meal? can’t understand, ”Gino told us.


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The family always spends Christmas in Sardinia © Haarala Hamilton

Although Christmas is an ordinary day for Gino and his family, the chef admitted that he still tries to make it magical for his nine-year-old daughter Mia, while spending the holidays at his favorite place on earth. : “We are always on the island of Sardinia, never elsewhere.”

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“We actually celebrate Christmas on the 24th and then wait until midnight when Santa Claus brings presents under the tree to open the next morning. We’re not an early bird family, but when my daughter Mia wakes up on Christmas morning the whole family has to wake up and come downstairs to open the presents – she’s too excited to wait! “

“The recipes I shared with SALVATION! are the ones we cook every Christmas without fail, ”the star told us. Scroll down to discover Gino’s festive recipes, taken from his latest book, Gino’s Italian family adventure.

Gino D’Acampo’s favorite Christmas recipes:


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Grilled lobsters with lemon and extra virgin olive oil

“For the D’Acampos, Christmas is about enjoying good food. This lobster recipe is a recipe that we cook without fail every Christmas on the island of Sardinia”, explains Gino. “Our Christmas meal is anything but traditional. We love to eat sea bass in the oven in a salt crust, grilled lobster with garlic and lemon, spicy sprouts, a plate of antipasti. we’re going to roast a whole piglet. Bellisimo.

For four persons

Ingredients:

5 fish broth cubes

4 large lobsters (about 600g each), very fresh

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed

15 g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Juice of 2 lemons

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Put 8 liters of water in a very large saucepan with the fish stock cubes and bring to a boil.

2. Immerse the lobsters in boiling water for 5 minutes, then using tongs, take them out and immediately submerge them in a sink of ice water for an additional 5 minutes. Finally, drain the lobsters, upside down, in a colander for 10 minutes. Remove the clamps and break them off, cut the bodies in half lengthwise and set aside.

3. Preheat a high heat frying pan or barbecue to its hottest setting.

4. Meanwhile, pour olive oil into a small bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and mix well. Brush all the lobster meat with the marinade and set aside.

5. Place the lobsters, flesh side down, on the griddle or barbecue and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for 5 minutes shell side down. The meat should be firm and opaque to the end. Serve with a tomato and avocado salad, or – if you’re hungry and not watching the calories, and while the pan or barbecue is hot – turn your meal into a surf and turf and throw in some delicious steaks from sirloin steak.


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Spicy Brussels sprouts

“It’s a recipe that my grandmother used to prepare, which was passed on to my mother, then to my sister, then to me,” Gino explains. “Over the years, I’ve added my personal touch, which makes this dish utter festive perfection (don’t tell my mom I said that).

For four to six people

Ingredients:

500g of Brussels sprouts

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of chili flakes

3 tablespoons of honey

Fine sea salt

Method:

1. Boil the Brussels sprouts for 5 minutes in a pot of boiling water, then drain them well.

2. Pour olive oil into a shallow saucepan and heat over high heat. Add the onion, chili and a pinch of salt and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Pour in the drained shoots and add the honey with another pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium and fry for a final 4-5 minutes, or until the sprouts are lightly caramelized. Use immediately.


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Gino’s Italian Family Adventure, £ 12, Amazon

BUY NOW

Excerpt from Gino’s Italian Family Adventure: Easy Recipes the Whole Family will Love by Gino D’Acampo (published by Bloomsbury).

Photo credit: Haarala Hamilton

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