Olive Oil, Salt & Lemons: A Venetian Holiday with Lotte

We're teleporting out of Fort Greene and straight to Venice thanks to Lotte's Polpo plates

Name: Lotte Johnson


Current home: Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Day job: Curatorial assistant at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Daily uniform: Black jeans and a shirt or a dress with black ankle boots and gold hoop earrings

I have a few: French postcards from the 1900s of tiny babies hiding in cabbages, hatching out of eggs, forming an infant orchestra… this is Photoshop in its earliest form! Honestly, they’re not as weird as they sound.

In the kitchen, I swear by: Olive oil, salt, and lemons

The taste I can’t live without: Avocado and a spritz with Campari—not necessarily together!

Most incredible dinner out: Seafood linguine for two at Taverna al Remer in Venice, in a tiny secret courtyard overlooking the Grand Canal

I’m dying to go to: Edward James’ house in Xilitla, Mexico. I’m sure there’ll be a good taco place near too.

My favorite recipe: Radicchio and prosciutto lasagna made by my mom

My mom taught me: Never serve anything from a plastic pot

My favorite English dish: Fish and chips wrapped in paper from the Golden Galleon in Aldeburgh—best eaten sitting on a pebbly beach.

My favorite American dish: Pickles!

If I could cook for anyone, I would cook: For my parents. I’d invite my brother, sister, and my boyfriend, Ed, along too.

My top 5 meals:
1. Cicheti at Gia Schiavi in Venice (with a Campari spritz)
2. Sushi breakfast at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo
3. Bistecca alla Fiorentina at Trattoria Mario in Florence
4. Anything and everything on the menu at Polpo in London
5. Most things at La Superior in Brooklyn
6. (Please can I have 6?) Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs cooked by my Mom and Dad on Christmas morning

My motto: I don’t believe in mottos!

What I cooked: As you might have realized, I love Venice. One of my favorite recipe books is by Polpo (a Venetian restaurant in Soho, London), so I chose two recipes from their cookbook.

Broad Bean, Ricotta, and Mint Bruschetta via Polpo

2 thick slices of sourdough
A good handful of podded broad beans
3tbsp fresh ricotta
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ clove of garlic
The zest of one lemon and a little juice
10 mint leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper

Place the broad beans into boiling water for 5 minutes, remove and plunge into cold water. Then drain and skin them. Put them in a small bowl and dress them in the olive oil, the zest, a little lemon juice, most of the mint, salt and pepper. Toast or grill the slices of bread so that they are crunchy on the outside but still have a bit of give when squeezed. Rub one side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic. The clove will melt into the bread’s hot surface. Spread the fresh ricotta, with salt and pepper added to taste, on to the hot and prepared bread. Top with the broadf beans and garnish with the remaining chopped mint.

Zucchini, Basil & Parmesan Salad via Polpo

1 lemon, juiced
6 tbsps of extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsps of finely-grated Parmesan
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
4 zucchinis
Rocket leaves 1 large handful
Small handful of basil leaves

Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with the olive oil, the finely grated parmesan and a little salt and black pepper. Finely slice the zucchini on an angle (or use a mandoline if you have one) and put into a bowl. Mix this with the rocket, basil and enough of the dressing to coat. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

Photography by Eric T. White