Tag Archives: Easy cooking

INVOLTINI DI PESCE (Rolled fish: Fish fillets rolled around a herb stuffing)

There is a sense of celebration associated with eating fish and this recipe for rolled fish could be a good starter to a meal – great for any of these festive occasions.

Whiting roll ups

It is Christmas eve and I intend making these as a starter tonight. It will be a menu of all fish in keeping with the Italian tradition of abstaining from meat; this is a left over practice from days when Catholics did not eat meat during certain days in Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus.

Xmas baubles

These little morsels are fish fillets rolled around a light stuffing– only herbs, lemon peel and garlic are used. Fillets of small fish (with skin on) are suitable: anything from mild-flavoured whiting, stronger tasting flathead to even stronger oilier fish such as mullet or sardines. They can be pan-fried in a  non stick frypan with  a little butter or extra virgin olive oil and then eaten with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You may also wish to deglaze the pan with a little white wine or use orange juice (juice of 2 oranges), these will provide a ready-made sauce. For the orange juice option you could use fresh basil as the herb for the stuffing.

I have made these little rolls many times. Sometimes I have deglazed the pan with Marsala (dry), or white wine. I have also used tarragon as my herb and used vermouth. An alternative stuffing can be made using some breadcrumbs (made from 1 day old, sour dough bread), toast them in a  frypan with a little extra virgin olive oil. To these add a little minced garlic, chopped parsley, grated lemon peel, a sprinkling of sugar and a little nutmeg. Pine nuts and currants can also be added to this stuffing.

Fish fillets rolled around a herb stuffing is one of the recipes is in my book, Small Fishy Bites.

small_fishy_bites_high res

 INGREDIENTS AND PROCESSES
6 fish fillets from small fish, I used King George whiting
fresh herbs for stuffing (rosemary, parsley, oregano or marjoram)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter or a mixture of both
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh bay leaves
grated peel of 1 orange or lemon
Flatten each fillet; if using large fillets, cut into smaller strips. Sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper.
Chop the herbs finely and leave a small sprig to insert at one end of the fish rolls (for decoration).
Mix the herbs, garlic and peel with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or soft butter- this is less Sicilian). Place a little of the stuffing at one end of each fillet and roll up. Secure each roll with a toothpick and place a sprig of herbs at one end.
Sauté fish rolls in remaining extra virgin olive oil and /or the butter.
Add a little seasoning and bay leaves and continue to cook the fish until it is ready.
Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Elena's Magi plate

 

SPAGHETTI CON PESCE E POMODORINI (Spaghetti with fish and cherry tomatoes)

It will be maccheroni, I swear to you, that will unite Italy.”

Giuseppe Garibaldi, on liberating Naples in 1860

When eating in Italy, the usual structure of the meal will consist of two courses. Il primo (the first ) will be a soup, risotto or pasta and in Sicily (and in the south of Italy) it is more likely to be pasta

Il secondo (the second) is the main course – the protein component and one contorno (vegetable side dish) or two contorni.

There have always been two courses in my mother’s home, and in the homes of our Italian friends and relatives. Although this is not something that I have continued to observe in my own household, I generally prepare a primo and a secondo when I am cooking for friends. If this is the case, as is the customary practice in Italian homes, nibbles can just be a very simple plate of olives (or the like) and the dessert, fresh fruit.

+pomodorini+DSC_0048

These days, I am into easy recipes, something I can prepare in minutes.

Eating pasta with fish is still not very popular in Australia (at the time of writing) but it is very much so in Italy and of course – Sicily. It is an island after all.

Spaghetti is usually the preferred shape of pasta for fish sauces.

Cherry tomatoes appear to have become very common in restaurants in Italy in the last few years. They are called pomodorini, or cigliegini in Italian and most commonly known as pizzitelli in Sicilian – little things.

Some of the cherry tomatoes in Australia may be small but they lack flavour and sweetness (maybe from over watering if this is possible in Australia). One of my friends in Adelaide is growing a variety called currant tomatoes in pots – very small and sweet and ideal for this dish.

Use any fish which will hold together when you sauté it.

Sicilians prefer tuna or swordfish, but because I like to use sustainable fish (pesce sostenibile) I select Albacore tuna when I can get it, tailor or flathead or snapper and mackerel . To keep the fish moist and to prevent it from overcooking, i keep the fish in large pieces when I cook it and then break it up onto smaller pieces.

From Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide by Australian Marine Conservation Society – 2009 (AMCS)

INGREDIENTS

spaghetti, 500g
fish, 500g, cut into dice
garlic, 5 cloves, chopped finely
cherry tomatoes, 1 punnet, if too big cut in half,
extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup
fresh herbs, use either: a handful of basil or parsley, or fresh mint,
white wine, 1 glass
salt and freshly ground pepper (or chilli flakes)
Cook pasta and make sauce as it cooks.
Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Sauté the fish ( you can keep it all in one piece if you wish), add the cherry tomatoes. Remove the fish and tomotoes from the pan but leave the juices in the pan.
Add the white wine and reduce .
Add the herbs and stir through the sauce.
Return the fish and tomatoes to the pan. Separate the fish into the size pieces that you wish.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan where it was cooked.
Mix in the sauce and serve.
Australia: