La Dolce Vita

Michele and Qiana DiBari are the husband-and-wife owners, and culinary virtuosi, behind Lahaina’s Sale Pepe, winner of 2017’s Gold ‘Aipono Award for best Italian restaurant. They’ve just opened a second venue next door to Sale Pepe — A Fianco, Italian for “next door” — but today we’re not dining at either venue. Instead, the DiBaris have invited me to a picnic at their favorite West Maui beach. Having dined at Sale Pepe, I’d be crazy to say no, in English or Italian.




Chef Michele’s Chicken Milanese

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Yield: Four servings

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced and pounded flat
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • sale pepe: salt & pepper

METHOD: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet at medium heat. While the oil heats, beat the eggs in a shallow dish, adding salt and pepper.

Spread the flour in a second dish, the breadcrumbs in a third. Working with one slice at a time, gently press the chicken into the flour to coat. Shake off any excess. Dip the slice into the beaten eggs, then lightly press it into the breadcrumbs. Place it on a clean plate, and bread remaining chicken in the same manner, making sure not to stack the slices.

Pan-fry the chicken, two pieces at a time, until golden brown and cooked completely, three to five minutes on each side. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Enjoy as is, or on bread with lettuce, tomatoes and toppings of your choice.

Insalata di Fregola recipe
Sale Pepe’s Insalata di Fregola

Sale Pepe’s Insalata di Fregola

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 4–6 servings

  • 8 ounces fregola (pasta)
  • 4-8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1/2–1 cup)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 ounces diced feta
  • 2 ounces cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality red-wine vinegar
  • sale pepe: salt & pepper, to taste

METHOD: Salt and boil a large pot of water. Toast fregola in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet, then add to boiling water. Cook, stirring frequently, until fregola is al dente, about ten minutes. Drain. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk remaining olive oil, red-wine vinegar, garlic, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, combine fregola, chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, feta, cherry tomato, the remaining parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add vinaigrette and toss well to mix.

Serve at room temperature. Mangiare e godere! (Eat and enjoy!)



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