Sunday, 27 November 2011
I miei fantastici involtini di pesce! ( My Fantastic fish Involtini! )
The dish I made today is traditionally Sicilian (well, I should say "was" as I changed it and created my own version!) Sicily is not only an island, but one of Italy's Regions (like Tuscany, Puglia, Abruzzo, etc.) Anyway! The fish used in the original Sicilian recipe is swordfish, which is widely fished along the coast of Calabria and Sicily. I used haddock, in my version, because I couldn't get swordfish, and also because I though it had the right firmness.
The original recipe consisted of a thin swordfish steaks, filled with pine nuts and sultanas, then rolled and baked in a tomato sauce with a top layer of breadcrumbs. I really couldn't eat fish with sultanas... not even if they forced me to... the thought of that is just too alien to me! In Bari we mostly descend from the Normans and the Svevian and the Arab culinary influence so strong in Sicily kind of bypassed many of us baresi.
Images of the Med, as it "kisses" the Bari Coastline
and a man selling fish in a street market outside the city.
I made my Involtini di Pesce by devising my own filling, based on the one we use for cuttle fish and stuffed mussels, in Bari. And.... it was good! I saved my sultanas for next time I make a fruit cake!
Involtini di pesce
(Rolled fish fillets with
a yummy stuffing!)
Serves 4 as a starter and 2 as a main course
4 large fish fillets
3 slices bread
1 egg yolk
a couple of leaves raw spinach
a tiny handful cooked spinach
For the tomato sauce:
1 carton passata
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
To serve: some crostini
(grilled or baked slices of
Before I started, I washed a few of my spinach leaves, then cooked and chopped them. I also chopped some parsley and a few uncooked spinach leaves (for texture). I put 1 and 1/2 slices of my bread in a bowl of water for a few seconds, then I squeezed all the water out. I placed this bread, with the cooked and the uncooked spinach, my parsley followed by 1 egg yolk in a bowl. To this, I added salt, pepper and some grated Parmesan cheese. I mixed all these ingredients together to make my lovely stuffing.
Next, I made a very quick tomato and garlic sauce, by frying the garlic in 2 tbsp of hot oil, followed by my passata. I added salt and cooked for about twenty five minutes. Some basil always makes a tomato sauce a bit special, if you feel like adding some. I love it!
my sauce is bubbling up
While my sauce was cooking (about 20-25 minutes) I placed my fillets on a clean surface, and then put some of the stuffing inside each, rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick.
fish fillets with stuffing
I placed the "involtini" in an old Italian earthenware quite shallow pan (I wanted to see if it could be used in the oven!) almost covered in tomato sauce, but not swimming in it! (if you have made too much sauce you can have it on pasta tomorrow!) Look at my sweet old terracotta pot!
Having made breadcrumbs with my remaining bread, I covered my dish with these and baked in a hot oven (200 C/400F/GAS 6 )until the top was golden and the sauce was bubbling up.
1) my involtini 2) with sauce 3) I added breadcrumbs and baked
Having checked that my fish was cooked, I was ready to serve. My "involtini" looked really appetizing served over fresh green beans which I previously cooked, drained and tossed in little olive oil and garlic. The crostini I baked with the fish went very well with it! Success! My creation was very good, indeed!
My fish was ready. I served it with beans
and lovely crostini
This is just one of my involtini!
If you would like to know how it tastes, you'll have to make it!
PS: Salmon not suitable for this recipe!