Hey Folks. It’s been a whirlwind of a week with justice Anthony Kennedy retiring, our new website launching and having a 24 hour fevery summer bug. But, even with all of the commotion, I managed to finally cook from Fish: Recipes from the Sea! The new cookbook we just got in from Phaidon. This is the perfect book for the home chef looking to learn the basics of fish and seafood. It features perfect dishes for summer like Marinated Sardines with Basil, or Langoustine, Endive and Grapefruit Salad. Yum. I wouldn’t even know what a Langoustine was if not for this book! (It’s basically a tiny perfect little shrimp lobster hybrid.) You’ll also learn the fundamentals on how to trim, scale, gut, filet and butterfly everything from a simple trout to a John Dory. Not to mention tons of great sauce and side recipes. Honestly, there are so many easy seafood fixes in here that will make your summer a little more nautical.
Lobster in a brandy, mustard and tarragon sauce was just a liiiiiittle out of budget for me this time, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it and invite me over. So, I picked a super simple, very quick, fritto misto. Fritto Misto literally translates to mixed fried! The recipe called for anchovies, but we used smelt because it was fresh at our local grocery store. Any small oily fish will do though, i.e.: sardines, sprats. They may not be the most glamorous looking things but wow, were they delicious. Simple and salty with a nudge of lemon and sage. It’s five ingredients! We made a pound, which fed two of us amply along with a quick arugula and radish salad dressed in olive oil and lemon. Squeeze the other half a lemon over the fish, pour yourself a hoppy beer, eat it with your fingers on the porch, and call it a summer’s eve.
- 1kg small oily fish (sardines, smelt, sprat)
- olive oil, for frying
- 4 sage leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- salt & pepper
Rub off the scales from the fish with your finger, then rinse under cold running water. Cut off and discard the heads. Slit open the fish along the length of the belly, pull out and discard the guts and rinse the cavity under cold running water. Open out the fish and put it skin side uppermost on a chopping (cutting) board. Press firmly along the backbone with your thumb or palm of your hand.
When the fish is completely flat, turn it over, pull away the backbone, and snip it off at the tail end. Remove any remaining small bones with tweezers. Prepare the remaining fish in the same way.
Dust the fish with flour, shaking off excess. Heat plenty of oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the larger fish first and cook for about 1 minute, then add smaller ones and cook for another few minutes, until the flesh flakes easily. You may need to cook them in batches. Remove with a spatula and drain on paper towels. Keep warm until all the fish have been cooked. Put the fish on a serving dish, garnish with wedges of lemon and sage leaves, season with salt and white pepper and serve immediately.