About Beth

Beth
Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene
Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah
Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug
Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy
Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi
Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan
Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry
Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma
Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim
Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

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Fried Tidbits of Swordfish or Other Fish

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In landlocked Missouri, getting good fresh seafood is a challenge. It's hard to find and is expensive. I often buy fresh frozen at Global Foods because they only carry seafood that has been wild caught and ship processed. That means that on catch day, the fish is cleaned, flash frozen, and vacuum sealed right on the ship. I believe this is often a better choice than fish that is sold as fresh, but may have had longer than optimal travel time to Missouri. When I do buy fresh, I rely on my nose to guide me. I'm not the least shy about asking the fishmonger in the market to let me smell the fish.

For this dish, I stopped first at Global Foods, but was not impressed with the look of the swordfish steaks in their freezer. I resolved to head to Whole Foods, but on a whim I stopped in at Dierberg's. Dierberg's is a regional, family owned grocery chain in the St. Louis area. They aren't the cheapest in town, but you can usually count on them for quality. The loins were beautiful, and smelled like fresh sea air. At $11.00 a pound they were expensive, but since it was only Dan and I, I saved some by cutting the recipe in half.


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Soaking in the marinade of olive oil and lemon juice begins to acid-cook the fish, so the actual cooking time should be very brief.


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After soaking in the marinade for about an hour, I patted the fish dry on a paper towel. When the oil was hot enough in the pan to brown rapidly, I dipped the morsels in egg then in flour.


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All you want is a light golden brown crust, and you want it fast. As soon as one side browns, turn the fish and brown the other, then remove with a slotted spatula. Drain the cooked tidbits on a heated, paper towel lined platter and serve immediately.


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We enjoyed ours with mixed greens and Marcella's Gratineed Cauliflower with Butter and Parmesan Cheese -- which I shall be reporting on on January 18th, 2011. Don't tell Victor, but it was perfect with a bottle of ice cold Vinho Verde from Portugal.


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Comments (6)

Mindy:

You'd think I'd learn by now to NOT read your posts until at least 11AM! The swordfish bites look delicious! I haven't had swordfish in ages. There are a few restaurants in Boston that I'll order it from....I will check my local fish store to compare prices.

thank you for another growling tummy-morning!

Deborah responds:

Mindy, thank you for being one of our most faithful readers!

Marcella Hazan:

I was startled to find that your swordfish comes from Indonesia. There is no distance that fish can't travel these days! And when I was young, if it hadn't landed that afternoon on my town's dock, possibly still palpitating, it wasn't worth considering.

Do you find $11.00 a pound expensive? It is well below the average price of fresh fish here, even when caught in our Gulf. Whole Foods sells glorious fresh swordfish that they describe as harpoon caught. It comes from Canada. And I am not going to tell you how much I pay for it.

Deborah responds:
Yes, Marcella, it is startling to see what can be accomplished in today's world of air-freight, isn't it?
The Indonesian swordfish was the one labled 'wild caught'. There was one from Chile, I believe, that didn't identify how it was acquired. I always assume that means farm raised, and I hesitate to buy farm raised. Mainly because I grew up close to a fish hatchery. I saw how stagnant the water looked in the ponds.
Yes, to me $11.00 a pound is expensive. I'm used to shopping at Global Foods where they have very reasonable prices because, although they are a business, they have a real mission to serve the immigrant populations of St. Louis. No price gouging there.

Hmmm - I won't tell you how much I paid for 2 beams! LOL

The swordfish looks delicious - well done.

Marcella Hazan:

We had an outage and I couldn't get back to this sooner. I don't know how comments work, but it may be too late for this one. I did want to point out a cavernous gap between the way Italians shop and others do. Except for the very, very poor, Italians buy food on the basis of quality. They are prepared to pay a lot more - to give an example - for a small sole pulled out of the Adriatic the previous night than for a slice of salmon just flown in from Norway. Swordfish is a magnificent and complex animal, (it is also monogamous), and a pristine slice from a freshly caught example can be beyond our reach, but can never be too dear for what it represents.

Victor hopes he is not being misunderstood. He appreciates, in suitable circumstances, the refreshment appeal of a cold glass of wine. His only requirement is that it be wine.

Deborah responds: I think, Marcella, that Italians have a much more finely tuned sense of time and place when it comes to food than most other cultures. (The French like to pretend they do, but we know better. :wink:)
The problem that arises for those of us who live in the middle the geographically huge US is availability and variety. If I insisted on only eating local, fresh caught fish, I would be limited to catfish & bass. And if I wanted to drive several hours into the beautiful Ozark mountains to enjoy the bounty of a free flowing mountain stream, I could also have rainbow trout. But, swordfish is not an option unless I am willing to purchase imported.
Tell Victor that I still think he should write that book with the perfect title -- "The Color of Wine is Red".

Looks great Deborah. I think $11.00 per lb is inexpensive as well.

I love Marcella's swordfish recipes, particularly the one with fennel seeds.

Marcella Hazan:

Deborah, it looks as though this fish chapter, which represents a significant element in Italian cooking and of which I have always felt very confident, has the potential to stir up problems in the middle of the country. There are degrees of fresh. Fresh as we understand it in Venice is an unrealistic goal in St. Louis. But even in Venice we had fish that had been caught in Turkish waters, in Africa, in the North Atlantic, not to mention lobsters from Canada. With good transportation and good storage, fish can be considered fresh after 3 days, some larger fish, like swordfish, after 4 or 5. During the King salmon season, so cruelly brief now, I get fresh salmon sent to me from Washington State. My swordfish comes from Canada. Because we don't consider price, we order European turbot from the same house in Maine that supplies the top restaurants on the East Coast. It gets to us fresher than Gulf of Mexico grouper. If you are able to pay for it, the question is how much is superior quality worth to you?

Deborah responds:
Marcella, you don't have to worry about causing trouble for middle America. As long as I have Global Foods and Whole Foods, I'm doing great. I'm very fortunate that even though I'm land locked, I'm in a city that appreciates quality ingredients and treasures its multi-cultural food traditions. Just last weekend, I attended my favorite festival of the year. The Festival of Nations. Arts and crafts from all over the world. Cultural music and dance. And best of all the traditional cusines of 47 countries.
As far as your fish chapter goes. It's shaping up to be my favorite. We enjoyed my assignment for next week tonight. Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks, Trapani Style. Amazing.

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