There are many Italian recipes cooked alla pizzaiola and If you cook something “alla pizzaiola’ it will have tomatoes, garlic, and parsley; in this case there are also anchovies and chillies.
This mixed fish braise is very easy to cook and although the recipe may appear to have too much garlic and chillies, the flavours meld into a mild, sweet flavoured sauce with subtle tastes. Serve the dish with bread to mop up the flavourful liquid.
The anchovies add another layer of taste and do not overwhelm the flavours of this dish; if you do not like them, leave them out or, for a milder taste, use white anchovies (called boquerones, from Spain).
Vary the amounts of shellfish and fish to suit your tastes, for example the last time I made this dish I used only fish fillets and it was great.
300g fillets of firm white-fleshed fish
200g squid, cut into rings
200g mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 whole bulb of garlic, very finely chopped (to taste)
3-5 red chillies (remove the seeds), very finely chopped
salt to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
300g red tomatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces (or use tinned)
anchovies to taste, (I used 4)
¾ cup white wine
½ cup chopped parsley; also use some to sprinkle onto the finished dish
Cut fish fillets into serving size pieces. Pat the fish dry, rub with a little salt and pan-fry them in a in a large frying pan with a little of the oil. Remove them and set aside.
Pan fry the squid rings in the same pan and set aside.
Heat the rest of the oil and over medium heat sauté the garlic and chilli until the garlic begins to soften – with cooking, these ingredients will disappear in the sauce. Leave some of the seeds in the chillies if you like hot food.
Stir in chopped anchovies until they dissolve.
Add the wine and evaporate for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, parsley, a little salt and cook the sauce until it is reduced. (Remember that the anchovies will be salty and that the mussels and cockles will also release their salty liquid).
Place the mussels, cockles and prawns into the sauce, cover and cook until the mussels and cockles have opened. The prawns will cook at the same time as the mussels.
Add the fish and squid to the pan and gently press them into the sauce ensuring that the sauce covers them and heat through.