Fish: Tommaso's Creole-Italian Pasta con Sardi

posted by Dodger 03-19-101 10:09 AM

I got this recipe from a food critic from our area. It is not my recipe but it sounded good. Also the comments are from him,Tom Fitzmorris.

Tommaso's Creole-Italian Pasta con Sardi

Get two older New Orleans-Italian ladies together, and you'll have argument about which is the right way to make Milanese, the other name for this dish. Both of them will hate this recipe, unless it's served to them at any time of year other than St. Joseph's Day and if it's called something else. Then they'll love it, and say it reminds them of Milanese.

The classic fish to use with Milanese is the strongly-flavored fresh Mediterranean sardine, a fish about six inches long. It's good but hard to find. I substitute pompano, which has the flavor to carry the dish and adds a touch of class--if no authenticity--to the dish.

1 bunch fennel
3 Tbs. cup olive oil
5 green onions, tough parts removed, chopped
4 anchovies, crushed
1 (28-oz) can Italian plum tomato puree
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 small whole pompano, cleaned
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup dried currants
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 lb. bucatini pasta
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Cut the fennel bulb from top to bottom along the wide dimension. Cut off the inner root core and cut off the tough top parts, leaving about three inches of the stems. Chop coarsely.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and in it saute the fennel and green onions until they soften. Add the crushed anchovies and cook another minute.

Add the tomato puree and the oregano and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cut the tails and (if you like) the heads off the pompano. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the crushed garlic cloves, then add the pompano. Brown the pompano on both sides, cooking about two minutes on each side. Remove the garlic and discard.

Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and add a cup of the tomato sauce from the other pot. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Agitate the pan to slosh the sauce inside the fish. Cover the pan and cook for four to six minutes. Remove the fish from the pan. Cut out the fillets but leave the skin intact. Keep warm.

Pour the tomato sauce into the pan you just cooked the fish in. Add the pine nuts, currants, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce up to a light simmer.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of water at a rolling boil with a tablespoon of salt in it. Cook for six minutes, then drain. Toss the pasta with the sauce in the pan to coat. Serve with half a pompano.

Sprinkle bread crumbs mixed with the Italian seasoning over everything.

Serves four.

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