VenerdĂŹ 18 marzo 2011
STARTERS Tartare of Amberjack with celery sauce and gorgonzola Steamed Salmon with vegetables in a white sauce Octopus salad in green sauce with potatoes cream and capers Baked Sea Nests
MAIN COURSES Spaghettoni risottati with oil, garlic, chilli and clams Green broccoletti ravioli with grouper and green sauce
La Congrega dei Liffi (the Brotherhood of the Gluttons) of Reggio Emilia is a cultural association, that through the voluntary and disinterested activity of its members, is dedicated to study, research, preparation and tasting of fish cuisine. The result of this activity, lasting without interruptions since 1981, is spread out through the publishing of books and the organization of public courses at the seat of Quattro Castella. This seat has a kitchen of 130 square meters, equipped with all modern devices, and completed by two large halls for tasting, hosting more than 150 people but reserved to members only. La Congrega dei Liffi was founded by Pietro Scapinelli, chef by vocation and inexhaustible promoter of every activity. It is a unique association at the national level, and it has catalogued several thousands of recipes, all studied and more and more tested and improved. These recipes are born not only thanks to creativity and imagination, but also through relations with well known chefs and gastronomes, professionals or just cuisine amateurs, besides the study and the consultation of books and magazines. The “Liffi” study everything and look for the best of everything, they improve and adapt what they experimented, and spread out what they learnt. The work of all members, including instructors, is volunteer and no profit. Their activity, professional but not occupational, is endless and it develops also through the collaboration with cooking schools, restaurants, associations and firms, in Italy and abroad. They do not make public catering and their activity is strictly reserved to members, but in case of collaborations with charitable bodies and associations. “La Congrega dei Liffi” organizes and manages each year cooking courses, and the participations to them is considered for cuisine experts and lovers, especially the fish cuisine, both amateurs and professionals, an opportunity to deepen their knowledge on this topic to the highest levels.
SUPPLYING The purchase of fish is not easy at all. We are talking about a product that the average consumer knows very little. Consequently the request is not very demanding and the offer adapts itself. If we wish to be aware of our choices we need to deepen our knowledge. There are specific books but they are rarely looked up or purchased. The suggestion then is only one: to rely on a honest dealer who, if working well, will win you as a fond costumer. In the meantime here are a few practical and cautious tips. How to know when the fish is not fresh. Smell: strong, unpleasant, with a hint of ammonia. Color: dirty, dull, pale. Scales: flabby, easily breaking off. Eye: dull, deep-set. Gills: dry, whitish or completely dark. Belly and tail: flabby, breakable and dangling. The price tag must report if the fish is fresh or thawed, but beware: if it says "fresh" it does not mean that it has just been caught but only that it has not been frozen or deep frozen. At the same time “thawed” does not mean it has been just thawed or only once. The price tag should also report if the product is bred or wild but sometimes it says “from sea” and the costumer thinks it is a wild product while it has only been bred in the sea, but fed with feedstuff, thus it is not wild. Bred products are good anyway. Most of the times they are fresher and there„s almost no risk to find vermins if you prefer to eat it raw. It does of course change from one breeding to another. The fishmonger knows it. Fish slices and fish fillets in general, gutted cuttlefish, shelled shrimps, are easier to use but often they have been processed to disguise they are no more fresh and not to help the costumer. The fishmonger knows it for sure. It is better to avoid the so-called sunfish or catfish fillets. They are often made of fish caught in country with little safeguard of sanitary measures. Fishermen often catch excellent but little known fish and they do not find buyers on the market, even if the price is convenient. Accept advices. The sea is full of fish, but if we continue to request always the same things only because we do not know the others, we cannot complain after if some products are so expensive and mostly scarce and almost extinct. Various sharks are sold as smooth hound, harbor grey mullets tasting of diesel fuel as open sea grey mullets, and so on. Again you must be careful and rely on a honest dealer. This is not to be too demanding or boring. You must be careful , and if the request will be more informed, the market will adapt proposing more and more often the right product at the right rate.
FRESH AND FROZEN A cell is composed of water and dissolved substances contained in a thin bag. Slow freezing, its content breaks down and the water turns into sharp crystals that are arranged in such a way as to pierce the bag, supported also by the increased volume. This is what happens in a food - we are interested in fish - if it is frozen with inadequate means. It lasts a long time, but since the bag is pierced, when it's time to thaw and cook , it empties losing water, and with it, many of the salts that were dissolved in it before freezing. Result: tough fish and no taste. It the freezing occurs rapidly, all crystallization process changes and the crystals do not have the same shape as before, they will have no points and will not increase in volume so much. In practice, they can no longer pierce the film. If thawing also takes place properly the cell will remain undamaged and the fish will keep all its flavor and peculiarities. Freezing food properly implies that the whole product reaches a temperature of at least -18 degrees C in less than two hours. The industrial technology has absolutely no problems but even the best homes freezers, with four stars, obtain good results if the mass to be frozen is not excessive. What does properly defrosting mean ? A quick thawing out can cause the tearing of cells for the violent changes of volume and stretching and rubbing among cells. It is not advisable defrosting at the room temperature; it is absolutely wrong to use cold or, even worst, warm running water. The thawing must be slowly and, with fish, it is advisable to do it in a time from 12 to 24 hours inside the refrigerator. After all these considerations, we could say that, in general, the industrial frozen food is perfect and advisable. Unfortunately it is not always the case. First of all we must assume that the freezing took place when the fish was just caught. It is not always true. Then there are several times where the fish, while still frozen, is lead to higher temperatures , and this happens on refrigerated trucks, warehouses, during the various steps, on the market stalls and so on. And this would be sufficient to irreparably compromise the product. The microwave oven - the microwave causes the friction among cells and this, in addition to producing heat, can cause to films tearing. The use of microwaves is therefore advisable to defrost quickly, but it has the same limits of the quick thawing under warm running water. It is good for a soup but it is not for a product that should not release its juices during cooking.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE FRESH FISH HOW TO GUT AND FILLET FISH There is a way to recognize the quality and freshness of each fish, mollusk or shellfish. In principle, however, we can add some general advice, especially for fish. HOW TO GUT THE FISH To "gut " the fish, proceed as follows: - Wash the fish with clean, cool water and pat dry with paper towels - Scale the fish with the appropriate tool proceeding from the tail towards the head and check with your hands , caressing it, that no scale has remained. Carry out this action with the fish immersed in water, in a bowlgut the fish by cutting it, with a knife, from the anal opening to the throat. Removing entrails, gills and all the blood that is, protected by a kind of pleura, along the central fish bone. In some cases it is also possible to gut the fish through the removal of gills since entrails remain stuck to them.Avoid the contact of meat with the entrails‟ inside, nest for parasites e bacteria and in every case wash it again with care and dry. - if you want to serve the entire fish do not remove the head, the tail and fins HOW TO FILLET FISH This technique requires a special knife with a long and flexible blade. Round fishes (sea bass, grouper, etc.).. If you need the fillet without skin, scale the fish for only about an inch along the dorsal bone, from head to tail on both sides, without scaling the rest. If you need the fillet with the skin you will need to scale it all carefully before you start filleting. Start cutting the first fillet on the head‟s side along all the gill, slanting the knife in order to keep most of the under head meat. After that, cut all the fillet on the side of back fin, plunging the point till the big central fish bone. Continue close to the bone using it as a support. When you arrive to the belly continue close to the bones and the film covering the belly. Repeat all with the second fillet. To remove the skin place the fillet on a chipping board on scales‟ side. Cut the flesh near the tail lightly and grasp the skin with one hand. Taking a little traction, pass the flexible blade through the skin and the fillet, pressing the knife on the board s that the blade is sticking to the skin. Proceed with accuracy avoiding the fillet lose its adhesion to the board, otherwise you risk to cut the skin. Finally, with a tweezers, remove the bones inside the fillet flesh. Flatfishes. The method is the same but it is advisable to remove all fins around the fish's body including tail with scissors, before starting to cut it with a knife. Then start cutting the fillets in the middle, along the dorsal bone and proceeding, on one side first then the other, to obtain 4 half fillets.
TARTARE OF AMBERJACK WITH CELERY SAUCE AND GONGORZOLA Ingredients for 4 people: 300 g amberjack (sea bass, croaker ...) fillet A fresh shallot or sweet spring onion one or two stalks of white celery 80 g sweet gorgonzola fresh cream lemon vegetable broth oil red tomatoes dried skins salt and pepper Directions Firstly prepare the amberjack tartare on a chopping board and season it with oil, salt, pepper and chopped shallot. In a small saucepan melt the gorgonzola on a low flame eventually adding a little of cream to soften and sweeten it so that its taste will not be too intruding afterwards. Remove the blue mould with a strainer. PurĂŠe the celery with a blender and put the mixture into a cheesecloth to remove exceeding water. Prepare a sauce with celery, oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a bit of vegetable broth with the immersion blender. Sieve it with a spatula to make it velvety. Put the sauce on individual plates and make the tartare sliding in the middle of the sauce. The tartare must be previously divided into little disks with pastry rings on oven paper. Season the tartare with the gorgonzola cream and serve it, garnished with diced celery (the heart) to give flavor and a crisp note. Decorate it with a julienne of dried tomato skins.
STEAMED SALMON WITH VEGETABLES IN A WHITE SAUCE Ingredients for 4 people: a salmon of about 1 kg filleted (or 4 slices of about 150 g each) 2 large carrots 2 celery stalks 100 g green beans (or artichoke hearts, or fennel) 100 g oil, lemon, pepper and salt sauce For the white sauce: mayonnaise (a teacup) 2 tablespoons of dry sherry 3 tablespoons of fish broth Directions: Cut carrots and celery into thin sticks and add them to the beans, then boil (preferably separately) all the vegetables in salted water, drain them and keep them warm (keep the water; it could be used to reheat them before serving). Steam the salmon, lightly salted. Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce. Put the fillets and legumes on individual plates and sprinkle with the oil and lemon sauce, without exceeding the quantity. Then add to each dish 1 / 4 of the hot white sauce, and serve. P.S. - The dish can be presented in a bowl , with the white sauce underneath, then the salmon seasoned with the oil sauce and the vegetables piercing the white sauce. Directions for the white sauce: Prepare a mayonnaise in a blender and put it in a glass bowl. Add slowly the broth and the sherry, stirring with a whisk. Put a small pan on low flame with two inches of water and immerse the mayonnaise bowl. Please do not heat it too much or the mayonnaise will curdle. Whisk till the sauce warms up.
OCTOPUS SALAD IN GREEN SAUCE WITH POTATOES CREAM AND CAPERS Ingredients for 10 people: 2.5 kg small octopuses, portioned (10 polyps) 20 g pickled onions 35 pickled cucumbers 2 anchovy fillets in oil 70 g sandwich loaf 3 tablespoons white vinegar 130 g parsley 800 g boiled purĂŠe potatoes 300 cc milk 150 g well desalted capers 50 black olives (taggiasca), well-washed by brine a fine julienne of endive extra virgin olive oil Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia salt Directions: Boil the octopuses in the traditional way. Prepare the green sauce, rather creamy, whisking together onions, cucumbers, anchovies, sandwich loaf soaked in a little vinegar, parsley, a tablespoon of vinegar in addition, oil. Taste it for the salt. Peel the potatoes and mash them, then put them together with milk and olive oil whisking until obtaining a smooth and rather fluid cream. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving it warm it in a bain-marie, stirring. Prepare individual dishes. Place the entire octopuses on a base of mashed potatoes, topped with green sauce and garnished with the julienne of endive, some capers, olives and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Season with a little oil.
BAKED SEA NESTS Ingredients for 6: 350 g squids without eyes, feathers and ink 250 g cuttlefishes 500 g Mont St. Michael mussels (small and tasty) purged in seawater 500 g clams purged in sea water flushed 300 g fresh peeled pink shrimps 6 prawns in their shells, headless and clawless 3 tablespoons of peeled almonds, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted 6 tablespoons olive oil lemon juice a large garlic clove thinly chopped minced parsley 300 g bread dough (puff pastry can equally fit) an egg salt and pepper Directions: Distribute seafood in 6 bowls (for safety reasons mussels can be opened separately steaming them so to put in the bowls only shelled seafood), oil, almonds, lemon, garlic, parsley, pepper, salt, a teaspoon of juice made by squeezing the raw prawns heads (and a teaspoon of broth taken from the mussels opening). Put some albumen on the bowlsâ€&#x; sides and cover them with a disk of dough stretched at 3 mm thick, caring to make well sealed covers. Brush the dough surface with the beaten yolk and put in a preheated oven (180Â°) for about 20 minutes.
SPAGHETTONI RISOTTATI WITH OIL, GARLIC, CHILLI AND CLAMS Ingredients for 5 people: 400 gr of craft-made spaghettoni “ Benedetto Cavalieri “ 1.5 kilos of regular clams or 2 kilos small wild veracious clams 3 entire peeled garlic cloves 3 thinly chopped garlic cloves ½ glass of extra virgin olive oil chilli one tablespoon of chopped parsley black pepper Directions : Open the clams steaming them, shell them, filter their liquid and keep it. It is advisable to keep a handful of raw clams to open them in a pan at the very last minute, after seasoning them with some sauce. They will be used for the decoration. Brown the entire garlic with oil in a frying pan, until it takes a delicate light brown color, taking care not to burn it; then remove garlic and lower the temperature, replace the garlic with the chopped one and cook it for a minute, without letting it color. Lower the heat adding a good sip of clams liquid. Lower the flame and add a rich dose of chilli and stir the oil sauce for ten minutes, keeping on stirring with a wooden spatula and adding, toward the end, some parsley. It is impossible to emulsify the sauce as it is but it must become homogeneous, helping it, if necessary, with a whip. Divide the sauce in two parts. Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water (salt it slightly less than usual), let it soften, for 5 / 6 minutes, to avoid it breaks after. Strain it very damp, keeping the cooking water on the flame, put spaghettoni in a large pan containing half the sauce, and immediately pour boiling water to almost cover the spaghettoni. Cook on lively flame to aid evaporation.
The pan should be sized so that the spaghetti (once leveled / spread) skim the pan‟s external sides, and it should have a plat bottom. Cook it like a risotto, stirring it slowly with a wooden spoon and adding cooking water a little at a time. When the water containing the spaghetti becomes opalescent (whitish) and thicker because of the starch, and spaghettoni are at ¾ of their cooking time, add the remaining sauce, keeping only a little for the last time opening of clams kept aside for decoration. At this stage, thanks to the pasta starch of the pasta helping the emulsion between oil and water, it creates a cream base that must be kept stable until the end, plentiful and tasty. Taste the spaghetti with their sauce and the sauce itself, then proceed to flavor them adding the clams liquid a little at a time, in addition to the necessary cooking water. Add the shelled clams, parsley and eventually a grinding of black pepper, stir it well, decorate with last minute opened clams and serve. The industrial pasta has less starch than the craft-made one, that is why it is not suitable for this kind of seasoning, free of other emulsifying agents. NOTE - Some clams can be kept aside and opened at the last minute, with a little of olive oil and parsley sauce, so to use them hot, to decorate the dish. Another trick would be to add some of the clams directly on the spaghetti in each plate. It avoids to find clams all at the bottom of the pan after serving a bit unseasoned dishes The Company Benedetto Cavalieri Maglie (Lecce), producing a pasta of rare quality, recommends to buy stocks for the short term, up to 2 months, particularly in summer and autumn and store it at temperatures below 20 ° in a dry place . Besides it this pasta must be stored away from rice and other cereals byproducts, even if packed. In fact in rice can proliferate some beetles called “weevils” able to pierce the packets and move inside the pasta. The Benedetto Cavalieri pasta, produced with organic and GMO free raw materials, is particularly vulnerable.
GREEN BROCCOLETTI RAVIOLI WITH GROUPER AND GREEN SAUCE Ingredients for 4 people: 150 g clean broccoletti dough pastry * 250 g grouper (or monkfish or gunard) fillet skinless and boneless 30 g parsley leaves 20 g well desalted capers bay thyme some drops of anchovies seasoning or two desalted anchovies fillets 100 g of extra virgin olive oli Unrefined coarse salt 3 garlic cloves chilli a large shallot salt and pepper Directions: Blanch broccoletti in water, cool them in iced water. Sauté them in a pan with oil, chilli, a garlic clove and a large chopped shallot, then purée them in a blender. Season with salt. Make the ravioli with the broccoletti purée. If the fish fillet is too big and thick, put it between two transparent film sheets and, press it gently with a pestle, making it maximum 15 cm thick. Preheat a frying pan and put a handful of salt (it caramelizes with heat and colors the meat), cook the fish fillet for a few minutes in a little oil with an unpeeled garlic clove, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and thyme. Remove from the flame, sprinkle with a little oil and leave it cooling for a short time in the quick cooler. Mince parsley with the blender, after blanched in water and cooled in iced water. Add capers, anchovies seasoning (or two anchovies fillets), oil and a little dry grated bread, toasted in a pan.
Cook ravioli in salted water, sautĂŠ them in a pan with warm oil seasoned with an unpeeled garlic clove. Wrap the fish fillet in a film, so that cutting it, it will not lose its shape. Put ravioli on plates, cut the fish into slices, perpendicularly to the cutting board surface, add slices on the ravioli and season with the green sauce heated in a bain-marie.
* Ingredients for the dough (dose up to 8 people): 120 g 00 flour 120 g durum wheat semolina 60 g manitoba flour 3 eggs water 6 g salt
BREAD Ingredients: one kilo type 0 flour 30 g osalt 20 g sugar 100 g fat (oil, lard). 70 g sourdough (mother) 50 g fresh brewer’s yeast 500 g water Directions: Mix the ingredients, keep in warm place for 15 minutes and shape as rolls as you prefer. You can add to this basic mixture spices, roasted seeds, honey, and so on … Let rise the rolls protected from draughts and cook: 1) in static oven at 200 ° C degrees for 15/18 minutes 2) in a ventilated oven at 180° C degrees for 10-15 minutes
USA—EU | LIQUID 1 cup = 240 ml 1/2 cup = 120 ml 1/3 cup = 80 ml 1/4 cup = 60 ml = 4 tablespoons (tbsp) 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 15 ml = 3 teaspoons (tsp) 1 teaspoon = 5 ml (tsp) 1 fluid ounce = 30 ml
USA—EU | WEIGHT ½ oz = 10 g
¾ oz = 20 g
1 oz = 25 g
1½ oz = 40 g
2 oz = 50 g
2½ oz = 60 g
3 oz = 75 g
4 oz = 110 g
4½ oz = 125 g
5 oz = 150 g
6 oz = 175 g
7 oz = 200 g
8 oz = 225 g
9 oz = 250 g
10 oz = 275 g
12 oz = 350 g
1 lb = 450 g
1 lb 8 oz = 700 g
2 lb = 900 g
3 lb = 1.35 kg
Thanks to: Heather Kurima (Director of Culinary School of Fort Worth) Lee Anne Brassell Christa Burton Sharon Cofer Robert Deal Julia Dunaway Stephen Dunaway Kimberly Honeycutt Jay Kurima Julie Morris Tibbs Heather Vantrease Bradley Wilde
Thanks to Pietro Scapinelli La Congrega dei Liffi Conad â€œLe Querceâ€?
Reggio nel Mondo www.reggionelmondo.it