We don't cook a lot of fish. It's not as if we don't like seafood but we don't know how to prepare it. Italians, however, consume tons of seafood. As such my fishy education begins.
Last week I ventured into the first seafood recipe of the book, Sogliola all fiorentina. Sole. Did I look up this fish before I left for the market? No. Here is the definition from Food Lover's Companion:
"The popularity of sole dates back at least to the ancient Romans, who called it solea Jovi (Jupiter's sandal), undoubtedly because of the enlongated-oval shape of this flatfish ...
this true sole is found only in European waters."
Had I actually done my research I might have realized sole would not be readily available. I might have made a list of white fish fillet substitutes (cod, perch or red snapper). But I did not. Nonetheless my inherent frugal nature saved the day. The market did not have sole. They had multiple varieties of fish for $15.00 per pound, or more. The recipe called for two pounds of fish. Red snapper, however, was a mere $7.99 a pound. A no brainer. We were going to have Red Snapper alla fiorentina whether it was good or not.
The best part of this dish is the sauce, which would pair well with most fish (or chicken for that matter). Onion, thyme, butter, milk, whipping cream, egg yolks and parmesan. Rich and delicious.
The fish turned out well though needed to cook longer than the twelve minutes called for in the recipe (fifteen minutes would have been adequate). The dish is layered with spinach which is a nice way to sneak in some veggies. I don't know that the spinach imparted much flavor. My children, nonetheless, refused to eat the evil green stuff (it was coated in butter and whipped cream for goodness sake). They did try the snapper but were somewhat dissuaded by the small bones present in the fillet.
All in all it was a good recipe and one I'll make again.
I'd like to tell you this dish was prepared without injury. After all I didn't burn my hand as in the last entree. I didn't injure my foot as in an upcoming post. And yet I have the recipe book open as I type. Smack in the middle of the pages are two lovely spots of blood (actually they look like a red inkblot test. Hmmm - I see a butterfly and a set of owl's eyes. Take that for what it's worth).
Only here's the thing. I do not recall a bloodletting. Yet the evidence sits before me. Apparently cooking is a dangerous venture. As they say things come in threes ... I'm hoping this is affirmation of a third injury thus absolving my culinary curse.
And finally, in my haste to serve said dinner, I forgot to photograph it. This from the person who carries her camera on library excursions. As such you're left with a picture of bread. Which, by the way, is excellent for soaking up the remains of sauce. No italian meal should be ever served without bread.