Pasta con Baccalà e Finocchio, a venerable recipe form the Roman-Jewish cuisine. Salting changes the nature of the fish. Even after desalting, the fish has a firm and distinctive texture, a fortified and particularly tasty version of itself.
A quick Spanish recipe that presents beautifully. If I am pressed for time I use good quality roasted red peppers in a jar rather than roasting them myself. The result is quite similar. Monkfish flesh is covered with a gray membrane that needs to be removed as it shrinks when cooked and looks unpleasant in contrast to the whiteness of the fish.
Polpo alla Luciana is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare this exotic seafood. A traditional recipe from Borgo di Santa Lucia, a picturesque district next to Naples’ port. Buying pre-cooked or frozen octopus really helps as it cuts down the preparation time considerably to about 45 minutes. Even in the US pre-cooked octopus is now more readily available in some supermarkets, like Costco.
This classic of the Spanish and Portuguese cuisine is still a culinary curiosity in the US. Long hours of low and slow cooking or hitting it on a stone until tender are things of the past. A good brand of precooked octopus offers the same quality as a fresh one with the added bonus of less time in the kitchen.
The broiled feta cheese on top of the zucchini boats adds a tangy and slighly salty flavor to the mild shrimp-red pepper-onion filling. Most of the 45 minutes preparation time for this recipe is taken up by baking. You can serve it as a light lunch or as part of a more elaborated mezze summer dinner. Let it cool off a bit before serving this versatile dish.
Moqueca is a traditional salt water fish or prawn stew from Brazil. It’s strongly influenced by the African cuisine. The name moqueca comes from the term mukeka in Kimbundu, a widely spoken language in Angola. There are two recipes in Brazil , the Moqueca Baiana from Bahia state and the Moqueca Capixaba from Espirito Santo state. The first uses dendê oil, the latter annatto seed oil for flavor and color. Both are delicious!
This fish polpette recipe is comfort food from Italy. The preparation is not much different than meatballs, aside from the fact that they are not fried. Fishballs are “poached” in a rich tomato sauce and served on its own, not with pasta.
A slice of crusty bread is all you need to mop the delicious tomato sauce.
Hands down, one of my favorite recipes, a hearty mussels stew with Spanish flavors. I use frozen Green-Lipped Half Shell Mussels from New Zealand, available at Publix and other supermarkets in the US. They are plump, delicious, versatile and above all a great time saver. They come blanched and frozen in half shells ready to use.
Fish and potatoes are a recurring theme in the Iberian cuisine. The addition of “linguiça” (Portuguese soft spicy sausage in taste similar to Spanish chorizo) and leeks to the codfish brings the dish to another level. The result is earnest food at its best. A flexitarian recipe invented centuries before the word flexitarian ever was created.
Sardinas en Escabeche, a very popular recipe from Spain, which is often used for tapas or as an appetizer.
Escabeche is an age-old technique to preserve food. Fish, mussels, poultry or game are poached or fried in olive oil and then marinated for at least 24 hours in garlic, herbs, and vinegar and served at room temperature.