Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Host of The Splendid Table
produced by Minnesota Public Radio and Tom Voegeli Productions,
distributed by Public Radio International
BROWN CRUSTY FILLETS OF FISH
Adapted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper from
The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna the Heartland of Northern Italian Food
Copyright 1999 By Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Permission by Scribner, New York
Brown crusty fillets of
fish permeated with herbs and garlic make for some
of the best eating on Romagna's coast. This is home
cooking and the food of unpretentious restaurants along the Adriatic.
Often those restaurants are no more than colorful shacks set
up on the beach. But the fish will always be fresh, and always cooked over
wood fires. Their smokey aromas, mingled with the salt tang of the sea,
are the best perfumes of summer. With or without a beach, this makes
memorable picnic food cooked on the spot. But do be sure that the fish
is ice cold during transport. Rub fish with flavorings shortly before
leaving the house, seal in heavy plastic bags, and bury in lots of ice
in a well-insulated cooler.
Any firm fleshed fish works in this recipe, from Spanish
Mackerel to Blue Fish, members of the bass family, Trigger Fish,Sea Trout, Tile Fish, Swordfish, Tuna, and a score of
others. The most important ingredient in the fish you
choose is freshness.
Working Ahead: For the best flavor, season the fish and
refrigerate it 2 to 6 hours before cooking. Best to eat it hot, but
leftover fillets make fine cold antipasto. Cut them into chunks
and dress lightly with a little olive oil and fresh lemon.
Serve on a pile of tossed greens.
- 1 pound firm-fleshed fish fillets about 3/4 to 1 inch thick
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or fresh marjoram
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 to 6 lemon wedges
Seasoning the Fish: The secret of those deep flavors is
this aromatic rub of herbs. Cut about 4 diagonal slashes into the
fillets, cutting about 1/8 inch down and about 1 inch wide.
Make a paste of the garlic, parsley, herbs, and olive oil and
rub it over both sides of fillets. Place them on a platter, lightly
cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 6 hours.
Grilling Over Charcoal: Use real wood charcoal if possible.
Burn until coals are covered with grey ash. Brush the grill with
olive or vegetable oil to keep the fillets from sticking. If
possible have the grill about 6 inches from the coals.
Add the fish with its seasoning rub. Cook fast about
2 to 4 minutes per side,browning on both sides.
Check to be sure fish is firm when pressed and opaque
to center, but not yet flaky and dry.
On Stove Top Grill: Heat a heavy grill over high heat.
Brush with a little olive oil and lay out fillets with their
seasoning rub. Turn heat to medium and cook 3 to 4
minutes on one side; 2 to 3 minutes on the second side.
Check for doneness as
In Sauté Pan: Film the bottom of a large sauté pan with
olive oil. Heat over high, taking care not to let the oil smoke.
Add fish with its seasoning rub and turn heat to medium. Cook
3 to 4 minutes on one side, turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes on
the second side. Serve hot.
For delicately flavored fish, drink a
fresh, crisp white like a Sauvignon from the hills of Bologna,
Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Bianco from Friuli, or the elegant
Cortese di Gavi of Piemonte. For fish with bigger flavor like
tuna and blue fish, have full bodied whites like Sicily's white
Corvo Marca Verde Prima Goccia. Tuscany's Montecarlo,
or a Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
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