Orata in Italian means golden. In English this fish is called Gilt head (sea) bream. I’ve bought the same fish in markets in France where its name is Daurade (dorade royale), and many years ago I was vacationing in Calabria where it is known as it Pargo-Dorado… Here in Pantelleria this fish is referred to as Orata. By any name this is an absolutely lovely fish!
Put this fish on the barbecue or roast it in the oven. Orata blends well with any flavor. This week I was assigned to make a recipe with fish and olives so I filled it with sun dried black olives, Pantelleria capers, garlic and a lot of wild thyme that had I picked the day before. I cooked it in the oven for 30 min and it came out perfectly. Really, it was so good that we almost moaned as we ate.
This recipe can easily be used for other kinds of fish. When you cook the whole fish, don’t forget to eat that little part in the cheek on the side of the fish head. It may be little, but it’s the very best part.
I wish you all great week
AnnaOrata Pantesca al forno
Serves 2 Ingredients:
2 each Orata fish 1 kilo or more in weight per fish (other names of the Orato: Dutch- Goldbrassen, East Germany- Dentis, Great Britian- Gill head Sea Bream)
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves finely chopped or pressed
4 sprigs of thyme
4 sun dried olives pitts removed and cut into chunks
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoon capers from Pantelleria (soaked and drained)
10 olives of your choice
8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 medium sized fennel
1 spring onion
1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine
Remove the scales, innards and gills of the fish view this video for further instruction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeXqdZYtF_A
Set and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200C)
In a small bowl mix:
Olive oil, garlic, 2 thyme sprigs crushed, the sun dried olives and one Tablespoon of the capers, salt and pepper (keep in mind that fish needs a little extra salt).
Make three cuts on the bias from the dorsal fin to the stomach starting from head to mid tail on both sides of the fish. (since fish has different thicknesses these slits will allow even heat distribution as well as area to add the flavorings) place the aforementioned flavorings inside the slits as well as into the body cavity of the fish. Pour the left over oil around and into the oven tray.Cut the fennel and onion into larger wedge uniform pieces as to withstand the high heat of the oven. Add them to the pan with the rest of the ingredients and finish off by pouring in the wine. Cover with Aluminum foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, the cooking time might vary depending on the size of your fish, after 30 minutes remove from the oven and uncover. At this time you want to use a fork or butter knife to check the fish to see if the meat has cooked to the bone. You check at the thickest part of the fish by sticking the fork or knife into the and look to see if the meat is light and a little flaky in the consistency, not translucent at the point where it meats the bone. If it’s not ready let it stay for another ten minutes uncovered. But be careful with the cooking time, in my opinion there is nothing sadder than overcooked fish. Dinner plate http://indiska.com/
Capperi di Pantelleria http://shop.underthealmondtree.com/product/capers
As most of you know there is a huge carnival in Venice every year. In Pantelleria the local carnival is also very important. The weeks (or months) of this event means hardcore partying. You eat together with friends and at midnight you go dancing to small clubs and listen to live music and drink a lot of local wine. Usually you come back to the house around 4-5 in the morning, and of course you’re starving! Then it’s time for pasta! When you finally end up in bed you sleep until noon.
The Pantescan loves to party. At the end of the carnival period it all escalates… the kids actually have a school vacation so they also can focus and participate in all party events. For me this period is rough. I like to get up in the morning and I have work to do, so for me 3 days in a row is more than enough. Now this period has just finished and people are catching up on their sleep, starting diets and recovering their strength.
So am I. This week I made a promise to myself to try the new gym that recently opened in Pantelleria center, I’m going to eat healthy and instead of my usual breakfast of coffee/cornetto/nutella, I’m going to start the start the morning with a smoothie.
I created five smoothie recipes for the Swedish magazine Icakuriren (feb 2013), it’s just been published and you can get the other recipes in the online at www.icakuriren.se
Here is the recipe for a orange and flax seed smoothie: Orange and flaxseed smoothie
Makes 2 smoothies
2 peaches or 1 mango ( or if you are using frozen fruit you need 150 grams of fruit )
2 tablespoons whole flax seed (or ground flax seed meal)
1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup (2.4 dl) unsweetened carrot juice
1 cup (2.4 dl) freshly squeezed orange juice
Peel and pit the peaches or mango, cut large chunks.
Crush the flax seed using a mortar and pestle.
Place ingredients into a blender at medium speed (be sure to place the lid on top of the blender).
Pour into two 16 oz glasses and serve immediately.
Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a flavorful, spicy and delicious pasta. The original recipe is with anchovies, tomatoes, olives, garlic and capers. This pasta has become a recurring classic dish in my kitchen. You could easily exclude the tuna and replace it with a couple of more anchovies as the original recipe. Just make sure you taste as the sauce cooks so it doesn’t get too salty.
Spaghetti alla puttanesca Serves 4
1 lbs ( 450 gram ) of spaghetti (cook al dente according to the instruction on the package)
1 fresh red chili finely chopped or 1 tsp dried chili flakes
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 medium sized yellow onion finely chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
6 filets of anchovies roughly mashed in pieces using a fork
16 pitted and chopped black olives
3 Tablespoons of capers from Pantelleria! http://shop.underthealmondtree.com/
(make sure you drain the capers first in cold water before adding to the sauce) 12-15 cherry tomatoes
1 can chunky style tomatoes
1/4 cup (0.6 dl) white wine
7 oz ( 200 grams) of good canned tuna in olive oil
2 Tablespoons of grind lemon zest
4 Tablespoons of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Method Heat a large pan and add oil, garlic, chili, onion and the anchovies. Sauté until it is soft and the ingredients have melted together. Add cherry tomatoes, white wine, canned tomatoes, capers and olives. Season with sugar, black pepper and salt as needed. Make sure you test the saltiness before you add any salt. Most likely, the anchovies and capers will provide all the salt you’ll need.
Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
Let the sauce cook together for about 12-15 minutes, if it ends up a little dry add a little of your pasta water. One minute before serving, stir in the tuna and lemon zest and taste the seasoning. Mix the sauce with the spaghetti, sprinkle some parsley and serve right away.
Caponata is a traditional Sicilian course.
The recipes vary but should contain eggplant, celery and have a sweet and sourness. In some parts of Sicily seafood is included. The ingredients I used for this Caponata are all local products from the island of Pantelleria. Serve the Caponata as an antipasto with bread, or as a side course to go with fish or meat. The Caponata can be saved in the fridge for up to 7 days.
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) olive oil
3 aubergine, cut in large chunks
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped in bigger pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, cut in pieces
8 large ripe tomatoes, cut in pieces and remove the seeds
2 tablespoons capers from Pantelleria (rinsed, soaked and drained)
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of black olives (preferably sun or oven dried)
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of almonds (dry toasted and chopped in the pan)
5 tablespoons of tomato puree or concentrate
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Optional:1 table spoon of fresh parsley to serve
Use a large pan pour some olive oil, and place on the heat. Add the aubergine chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat until the aubergines are golden, then add the onion, garlic and celery stalks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add a more oil to the pan when it’s getting dry. Throw in the drained capers, olives, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes or until its tender. At last stir in the toasted almonds.Taste and season if you need with more salt, pepper, vinegar or sugar. Serve the Caponata room temperature sprinkled with almonds and parsley.