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.
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.
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.