My grandparents, who lived downstairs from us, where both from Sicily and could have eaten fish every night of the week. Seafood is definitely a Sicilian legacy and one which I continue to enjoy to this day.
My grandfather worked in the Fulton Fish Market when he first came to this country and was a commercial fisherman by trade. He later opened his own Fresh Seafood Shop and there was some kind of fish on the table nearly every night.
Sicily, like all of Italy’s regions, places an emphasis on fresh, seasonal foods. Nearly every meal is prepared with ingredients that were either picked from the garden or caught in the Mediterranean Sea that day.
Although I don’t enjoy seafood as much these days, I do try and make sure I eat some kind of fish at least twice a week. There are so many different ways to prepare fish and recipes so good that even the non-fish lover can find their way to enjoying seafood regularly.
Just this past weekend my wife found a great recipe for Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce, via Martha Steward. I felt the sauce would be the perfect topping for some Tilapia we were planning on preparing. Here is the recipe and another for sea bass I stumbled upon earlier this month.
For the Tilapia, I like steaming for the freshest, easiest and healthiest way to prepare fish. Fill a heavy cast iron pan about 3/4 full with water. Take a round cookie cooler rack and place it over the water. Place the fish on the rack, heat to high and cover. Cook for 12 minutes and you are done. The The Roasted Cherry Tomatoes are a bit more of a project and the recipe is below. Once done however mash them into a sauce and spread over the Tilapia.
- 1 pound 6 ounces of cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. packed light-brown sugar
- 1 tsp. coarse salt ( I like sea salt)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix together tomatoes and garlic in a nonreactive 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Drizzle over the tomato mixture.
- Bake until the tomatoes are softened and caramelized, about 1 hour. remove from the oven and let sit a few minutes before you mash into a sauce. Serve over the Tilapia.
STRIPED BASS OREGANATO. Serves 1-2.
2 pounds striped bass filets, 1 to 1.5 inches thick; 6 tbsp olive oil; 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 1 18-ounce can crushed tomatoes; 1 tbsp oregano; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp black pepper; 2 tbsp chopped parsley; 3 tbsp Romano cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub both sides of fish with 3 tbsp oil. Spread garlic evenly on fish. Cover fish completely with tomatoes. Add oregano, salt, pepper, and parsley. Add grated cheese to top and drizzle remaining oil on top of fish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The house will smell wonderful.