16 April 2015

AUNTIE PASTA; Easy Sicilian Fish Dish

CHIAVARI, Italy – It’s been a busy week with little time to cook. After having used a PC for about 20 years, I have just changed over to a MAC which is good but it has meant spending a lot of time trying to figure things out. 

 Fish Market in Sicily
Fortunately I found some PC classes on the internet that answered most of my questions, like how do you copy and paste on a MAC. Elementary for sure, but when you don’t know, you don’t know. As it turns out it is pretty much the same process as on a PC, now if I could figure out where or what the delete command is - oh well, by the end of the week i should be a MAC Pro pro and be able to get back to my life.

With no time to shop, let along cook, I decided to raid the freezer and take out  a fish dish, an old Sicilian recipe that I had prepared a couple of weeks ago. Then I boiled some rice and abracadabra! lunch was ready.

Cherry Tomatoes
Freezing the fish didn’t alter its texture at all, which is what I was afraid of since the fish was frozen to start with. You can use any white fish for this recipe, which is super simple and practically fool proof. I use codfish because I like it, especially for this recipe which needs a fish you can taste through the tomato sauce. This recipe feeds two people, for four people, just double it.

One trick I learned from a cook down in Tuscany was to pre-cook onions in the microwave until they are soft.  You have to add a little water to them, unlike other vegetables i.e. broccoli or carrots, because onions don’t contain water and they will burn.  I don’t know if there is a real name for this recipe, but I call it Sicilian Fish in Tomato Sauce.

Tomato Sauce

Sicilian Fish in Tomato Sauce

2 frozen codfish filets
1 can of peeled cherry tomatoes (or any type of peeled canned tomatoes)
¼ cup (more or less) water
1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed)
1 onion, roughly chopped and partially cooked in microwave
1 teaspoon of capers (in brine)
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of oregano or marjoram

In a frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are completely cooked. If the garlic turns brown, discard it, and turn the heat under the frying pan down. Add the can of tomatoes, juice and all, and the water. You can also add a little dry white wine instead of the water if you want. The fish will not complain. 

Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes, about 5 minutes, and then add the frozen fish. They do not have to be defrosted. Cover the frying pan and let it all cook until the fish is soft. Add the capers and the oregano and let cook for another 5 minutes or so until the fish is thoroughly cooked. 

At this point you can turn off the heat and let it sit until you are ready to eat. Actually the longer it sits the better it is, even overnight is not too long – in the refrigerator of course. Just let it cool to room temperature before you put it in the refrigerator.

Serve hot over rice or cous cous, spaghetti or curly pasta, I think even mashed potatoes would work. 

This is a recipe my mother used to make, but instead of adding capers she added raisins and it was just as delicious. If you don’t have capers and you do have raisins, you might want to try her version.

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