PISCI AMMARSALATU – PESCE ALLA MARSALA (Fish baked with marsala and rosemary)

Ammarsalatu is the Sicilian culinary term meaning with marsala; rosemary particularly compliments the caramel tastes of the marsala.

I really enjoy cooking savoury foods with dry marsala – buy the marsala fina or secca variety from Marsala, in north west Sicily.

I have used Kingfish for this recipe and on this occasion, I have chosen to present the potatoes separately. To decorate the fish I lightly pan fried some spring onions in a little oil.

Kingfish (sometimes called yellow tail) is mostly wild caught by handline, droplines and trawling.

The flesh of kingfish has a pink tinge and has a firm texture – like mackerel it can be a dry tasting fish, so I generally cook it in liquid or with moist ingredients and combine it with strong flavoured ingredients.

Kingfish is also farmed in Port Lincoln South Australia (called Hiramasa). It contains about 12 per cent body fat (compared with the wild version’s 5 per cent), is a superb sushi fish and very succulent when cooked. The company producing the kingfish are keen on maintaining a sustainable environment – a favourable selling point for this product.

The following recipe is for 4 people.

fish, 1 portion per person
extra virgin olive oil, ¾ cup or more
onion, 2, thickly sliced
rosemary, fresh, small sprigs, both to stuff the fish and for the potatoes
marsala (dry), 1 cup
fresh bay leaves, 3-4
salt to taste
lemon, ½, juice only
fresh chillies, 1-2 optional
potatoes, 4-6 peeled, cubed (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Put onion, chilli, potatoes, bay leaves, salt and rosemary in about ½ cup of the extra virgin olive oil in a roasting tray and toss them around until the ingredients are well coated.
Bake on a low oven shelf – they should take about 30-40 minutes to turn crisp and golden.
Sprinkle a little salt on each slice of fish and insert a sprig of rosemary in each portion of fish.
Pan fry the fish in hot extra virgin olive oil – 2-3 minutes per side.
Place the fish on top of the potatoes and pour the marsala, juices and the oil from the fish over all of the contents.
Bake for an extra 5 -10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Remove tray from the oven.
Add lemon juice and serve.

 For other cooking with marsala see also: