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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pesce Fresco=Fresh Fish

I was craving fish for dinner and asked my friend Linda to show me the way to an upscale supermarket called Bennet. There I found brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar and many other goodies. I was in hog heaven, but had my mind set on fish for dinner. Really simple, fresh, well-cooked fish is one of life’s greatest pleasures. My dad used to tell us stories about how he worked on fishing boat as a young man. When he caught or was given fish, he cooked it directly on top of either the engine of the boat or a hot exhaust pipe. He relished the simple, pure taste and taught us all to do the same. One of his best recipes is for steamed tilapia:

1 tilapia
Slivers of ginger, green onion and shitake mushrooms (optional)
Several drops of sesame oil
Salt and pepper
Soy sauce

1. The fish is cleaned (be careful not to break open the gall bladder aka green sac when you do clean the fish or else), scaled and rubbed with salt inside and out to clean it thoroughly, then rinsed and dried.
2. Score the fish with 3-4 diagonal slits on each side, halfway to the spine.
3. Stuff slivers of ginger, green onion and mushrooms inside the fish and into the slits on each side.
4. Place the fish on a heat proof platter and steam until just done.
5. Remove from steamer, drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce and enjoy.

Tonight I made a branzini (it’s a delicate white fish that’s a bit like a sea bass).
I follow all of the above steps for cleaning and preparation and stuffed it with lemons, chopped parsley and chopped garlic. I usually truss the fish just to hold all the filling in and set in a grill pan on medium low to cook. The timing is crucial, my dad used to poke a chopstick through his fish to check for doneness; I look at the spine and when the skin starts to pull away from the spine, it’s just about ready. If you are not sure you can make a tiny nick in the thickest part of the spine and take a little peek. If you wait until the fish flakes apart, it is usually overdone. A well cooked fish should glisten with juices and be very supple. Our dinner was yummy.


At 1:35 AM, Anonymous rowena said...

Wow Gia! This photo speaks for itself and I'm adding the ingredients on my shopping list for tomorrow nite.

Really enjoyed all the other entries you posted. Dogs can't have tomatoes???!!! Uh oh, I better x that off the list of treats. One fell on the floor and she gobbled it up right away so I figured it was okay. No reactions that I could see but better safe than sorry.

Love the cup of noodles...brings back a lot of great memories!

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Glad you're enjoying the posts. I love your recipes too, they are very gourmet and I know you put a lot of thought into your dishes. I have been liking to sites via your blog and have found a few very nice ones, thanks for all the info. and links! Take care and we have to get together soon. Can you e-mail me your address and directions?


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