Photogra Phot ography phy by by Leona Leonardo rdo Car Carosi osi
often. Cooked with wine, plenty of garlic and just a hint of chilli, a big bowl of mussels with toasted crostini to dunk into the juices – this is uncomplicate uncomplicated d food ﬁt for a feast, bringing back memories of meals on the Aeolian islands, tucking sandy feet under pavement tables amongst the bustle and conviviality of simple trattorias, amidst generous bowls of sauté of sauté di cozze cozze and carafes of house wine, the fruits of the sea and the honest pleasures of simple food. Sautè di Cozze – Sauteed Mussels
Serves 4 as a ﬁrst course, serves 2 as a main.
Territorio, the ancient bond between people and their land, beTerritorio, the tween man and the sea, is the key to all regional food. On a terrace somewhere south of Naples they bring us a small antipasto of Alici of Alici Marinat Marinatee; lemon juice and a dash of vin-
and ﬁlleted ﬁsh can be cooked in a light marinara sauce, and marinara sauce, a ﬁne tomato and ﬁsh broth is the basis for the satisfying Sicilian ﬁsh soup traditionally served with couscous. The aromatic couscous is a legacy of Sicily’s Arab ancestry, and the
1 kg mussels – cleaned well and de-bearded 200 ml ml white white wine 3 cloves cloves garli garlicc – peeled and lightly ightly squash squashed ed 1 small dried or fresh chilli Olive oil Handful ul contine continental ntal parsl parsley ey – rough roughly ly choppe choppedd Day-old breadst breadstick ick – sliced iced
egar softy curing the tiny ﬁsh, dressed hastily in olive oil with a sprinkle of parsley. It becomes something of a deﬁning food moment, the tang of the lemon and the taste of the sea, the juices mopped mopped up with rustic bread bread and washed down down with a glass of falangh of falanghina, the sweet heavy air hanging over the Mediina, the terranean. Behind every recipe there is a story, a reason based on the natural order of the seasons and the bounty of the land. In Italy it’s broccoli in winter, peppers in summer, lamb in Abruzzo, ﬁsh and tomatoes in Sicily. When almost entire towns of Sicilians boarded ships bound for Australia, they brought all of this socio-cultural culinary baggage with them, like the Greeks of the same period who nursed their yoghurt cultures for the
substance of the soup, ﬁlled with whatever small ﬁsh, offcuts or shellﬁsh come to hand; a hallmark of the “use everything” mantra of the Sicilian kitchen. The Australian Australian Marine Marine Conservation Conservation Society’s Society’s Sustainable Fish has three classiﬁcations: red for unsustainable species and List has List ﬁshing methods, yellow suggesting consumers think twice, and green which pretty much says go for it. One of my favourite ﬁsh is sea or black bream, caught all around the southern half of Australia and given a green light. In Italy where there’s a strong preference for eating whole ﬁsh, sea bream and bass are cooked whole in the oven with potatoes, or poached gently in a light sauce, with those old friends tomatoes, fresh herbs and a little garlic.
Clean mussels well and pull off beards by pulling down towards the pointy end of the mussel. Discard any mussels that are already open. Toast slices of day-old bread and rub lightly with half a clove of garlic and douse with a little olive oil. Wash, dry and and roughroughly chop the parsley. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large deep frypan or wok and add the squashed garlic cloves and chopped chilli. Tip the cleaned mussels into the
long voyage. Some of those post-war immigrants were on their way to Perth Perth,, and and they speak now now of stepping onto the the wharf at Fremantle, smelling the salty air and feeling at home straight away. Many went to work on the lobster farms but went ﬁshing in their free time, catching huge numbers of sardines in the sparkling waters off Fremantle. At that time, sardines were generally considered bait ﬁsh by the Australian market, but the Italians, who scorn no part of ﬁsh or beast, set about to change local ways. In the Italian kitchen, marinara kitchen, marinara is is used to describe tomatoes, oregano and garlic - key ingredients that were easily conserved and hence taken on the long voyages of ﬁshermen and seafarers. In Australia marinara Australia marinara has has found its way into the local culinary lexicon with the addition of seafood, a change picked up on the journey, as so often happens when recipes cross oceans. Tomatoes and ﬁsh certainly do make good partners, and are the base for so many simple seafood recipes. Both whole
It’s sometimes difﬁcult to buy whole bream in Australia; someone seems to have convinced Australians to cook only ﬁlleted ﬁsh, so ask your ﬁshmonger to save you a few whole bream, or better still catch your own. Gutted and cleaned, stuffed with a couple of herbs and some lemon, surrounded by a few potatoes and into the oven. Not only do whole ﬁsh cost much less than ﬁllets but keeping them intact improves their shelf life and during the cooking process the skin acts as a protective layer, keeping the moisture in. The bones also contain loads of iodine and other minerals and this goodness and ﬂavour is imparted during the cooking process. Australian blue mussels are full of great ﬂavour, affordable, simple to cook and superbly sustainable. Because they’re farmed in low environmental impact aquaculture farms where the mussels grow suspended in mid-water, there’s no damage to the sea bed, and as they feed on self-ﬁlt ered plankton there is no related water damage: all good reasons to eat mussels more
pan and add the white wine. Cover pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing the mussels around a little until they’ve opened. Some mussels may be more obstinate than others in opening. Those already open can be removed with a slotted spoon while the the slow ones ones cook further. RememRemember that there’s nothing wrong with the non-openers; they can be pried open and eaten. The mussels to avoid are those that are already open when purchased. Serve in large bowls with the cooking juices, a sprinkle of parsley and toasted bread crostini crostini.. To transform this dish into a pasta meal, add half a can of crushed tomatoes to the oil before the wine and mussels are
Italian Inspiration for a Sustainable Catch
added. Cook spaghetti until al dente, dente, drain and toss through the mussel sauce. It helps to discard some mussel shells before mixing sauce and pasta. Garnish with chopped chopped parsley parsley..
Orata al Forno – Baked Sea Bream
4 whole small bream (or 2 larger ﬁsh) 6 medium potatoes Garlic – 2 cloves peeled and lightly lightly squash squashed ed Parsley Pars ley – small handful Red onion onion – ﬁnely ﬁnely sliced sliced Lemon – half sliced Rosemary – couple couple of sprigs Salt & pepper Olive oil Have ﬁshmonger gut and clean the ﬁsh. Before cooking, give ﬁsh a quick rinse and pat dry. Preheat the oven oven to 200C. Peel potatoes and cut into rough cubes. Toss in olive oil, salt, garlic and a little rosemary. Place in an oven tray and cook for 15 minutes before adding ﬁsh, this will give the potatoes and ‘head start’ on the ﬁsh. Stuff each ﬁsh ﬁsh with some parsley, parsley, lemon and onion slices. Season the in-
side with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and nestle into the oven tray with potatoes. Cook for 25 minutes (depending on size) or until ﬁsh is cooked and skin peels away easily to reveal nice white ﬂesh. Depending on the size of the ﬁsh you can serve whole on each plate for guests to ﬁllet as they eat, or ﬁllet a larger ﬁsh to share between plates. Filleting a cooked ﬁsh is easier than it seems: start by peeling off the top layer of skin, lifting out top two ﬁllets, then removing the backbone of ﬁsh and retrieving the bottom two ﬁllets. Serve with potatoes and a fresh green salad or sautéed spinach.
Alici Marinate – Marinated fresh Anchovies or Sardines
Serves 4 as a starter
400 g whole fresh sardines or anchovies (or 200 g fresh resh ﬁllete ﬁlleted) d) 1 large lemon – squeezed White wine vinegar – half a cup Salt and pepper Extra virgin virgin olive oil oil – 2 tablespoons tablespoons Small handful parsley – roughly chopped This recipe is very simple but the total marinating time is 8 hours so must be prepared in advance. The tricky part is ﬁlleting the sardines or anchovies: it’s not impossible but it’s a bit laborious. Start by cutting off ﬁsh heads from top to bottom, and then pulling down the bottom (gut) side of the ﬁsh to pull out spine and innards together. This takes a little practice, but as the head comes off feel around for the top of spine with
you have butterﬂied butterﬂied all all of the anchovies anchovies (or sardines), they need to be very well rinsed and dried on kitchen paper. Mix the lemon juice and white wine vinegar together together and pour over the anchovy ﬁllets in a glass or ceramic dish. Make sure the ﬁsh are well immersed in the liquid, cover the container and place in the fridge for about ﬁve hours or until they have changed colour. Having been ‘cooked’ by the acidity of the lemon juice and vinegar they’ll be a sparkling white. Drain the lemon juice and vinegar from the anchovies and discard. Mix the olive oil with the chopped parsley (and garlic and chilli if desired) and toss through the anchovies, let them rest covered in the fridge another three hours or so before serving as an antipasto with crusty crusty bread. bread.
ﬁnger, prize it away from the ﬂesh and swiftly pull it away, removing all of the bones and innards in one piece. Once 69