Raw Sea Bass with Mint and Lemon Dressing by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi
Raw Sea Bass with Mint and Lemon Dressing by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi

Raw Sea Bass with Mint and Lemon Dressing by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi


Ingredients

"Raw fish dishes are enjoyed all over Italy as so much of the country lies on the coast. To eat fish raw it should be very fresh or previously commercially frozen at very low temperatures – this process kills any parasites, if you are concerned. We asked the chef-patron Carlo, at Apollonion restaurant in Ortigia, what was important about pesce crudo dishes. ‘You must taste the fish and not the vinegar,' he told us; the marinade should be leggera, weak, so as not to dominate the subtle flavour of the fish straight from the market that morning. This recipe from Caterina Valentino at Il Palladio restaurant in Giardini Naxos features the ubiquitous Salmoriglio dressing used for cooked fish as well as raw. Try adding little cubes of fruit such as peach, melon or strawberry to give it a summery feel. The lemon juice ‘cooks' thinly cut fish in minutes, turning it from translucent pinkish grey to opaque white." - Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi.

1 red onion, very finely sliced into rings
4 × 125 g (4 oz) fillets of very fresh sea bream, sea bass or haddock, pinboned and skinned
1/4 - 1/2 red chilli, according to taste, finely chopped
Small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salmoriglio Dressing:

2 Tbs parsley, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 heaped tsp fresh or dried oregano
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the red onion slices into a bowl of cold water for around 15 minutes to reduce their strength of flavour.

Slice the fish with a sharp knife at a 45 degree angle across the fillet so that you end up with pieces about 3 mm (1/8 in) thick. Lay the slices onto serving plates.

Drain the onions and briefly dry on kitchen paper. Scatter the onions, chilli and mint over the fish. At this point, the plates can be stored in the fridge.

Salmoriglio Dressing:

Put the parsley and garlic together in a bowl, pour over 3 tablespoons of boiling water and add the oregano. Use the back of a spoon to press the herbs and garlic down in the water – this helps to release the essential oils and adds to the flavour. Pour in the oil and set aside to cool. Add the lemon juice and season to taste.

When ready to serve, season the fish evenly and pour over the dressing. Leave it for around 5 minutes at room temperature. The longer you leave the dressing on the fish, the more it will be ‘cooked’ by the acidity, so serve straight away or leave a little longer for a more ‘cooked’ texture.

Credits: This is an edited extract from Sicily by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $49.99 and is available in stores nationally.

Photo Credits: This is an edited extract from Sicily by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $49.99 and is available in stores nationally.


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