Thursday, October 22, 2009
Recently I was thrilled to have my brother Joe visiting from Florida and I surprised him by cooking a classic family favorite dish for dinner.
Our Nonno (grandfather) often lovingly prepared this beautiful Sicilian fish in broth (brudu - BRU-du) and every time I cook it I remember the warm wonderful feeling of being filled with his love. There was no question this would be the dish to welcome my brother home. And, of course, he and many other family members have asked for the recipe.
It is with great pride and a heart brimming with love and nostalgia that I offer this recipe that means so much to me.
Mirruzzu Sciuscieddu (poached fish in broth):
4 slices good Italian bread about 1 inch thick grilled or toasted and rubbed with a clove of garlic - set aside
3 fresh plum tomatoes peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of sugar
32 ounces of homemade fish stock (or Kitchen Basics Fish and Seafood Stock)
4 filets of whiting (cod or skate also works nicely)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
In a large deep saute pan with a tight fitting lid, saute the tomatoes, garlic and sugar in the olive oil on medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until it resembles tomato paste.
Add the fish stock, cover the pan and bring to a boil.
Lightly salt and pepper each side of the fish filets and place in the boiling stock. Cover the pan and immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the fish is slightly firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Do not over cook.
Put a slice of grilled garlic bread in each of 4 warm bowls and place a fish filet on top of the bread. Ladle the hot broth over the fish and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with extra garlic bread, a chilled white wine and an arugula salad dressed with fresh lemon juice, the best olive oil, salt and pepper. Fresh fruit with Mascarpone cream is the perfect way to conclude this lovely meal.
When I was a young boy my Nonno would phone to invite me whenever he made Mirruzzu. When I cooked it for my brother I felt, for a moment, as though I channeled my Nonno. Yet, eating it with my brother I felt I was, for a moment, a young boy again.
Ti amo, Nonno!