|~ Portofino, Italia ~|
This is ultimate comfort food from the sea. Warming bowls of this ubiquitous, but never identical, concoction can be found up and down the Italian coast, from Sicily to Liguria. Literally translated as “Fish Soup” it isn’t really either of those things. Yes, it contains fish, but is more akin to a stew than anything else. The version below went from raw to plated in under 1 hour. Read on… (warning, these images are graphic)
|Extra Virgin Oil, garlic and seasoning. The base is important|
|Nonna’s spoon. Crushed tomato, seasoned and reducing|
|Clams, white wine, and basil added. Note on the inside of the pot, the reduction of the tomato|
|Prepared Crostini: These can sit until the very end. They only take 2-3 minutes under the broiler|
|Chilean Sea Bass – Seasoned & Pan Sauteing|
By the time the Sea Bass cooks through, which takes maybe 10 minutes, the clams will be open. Drain the shrimp and toss them into the pot. They’ll warm through in a minute or two.
|Here are the opened Clams & the Shrimp. Test your broth for seasoning|
Nearing the home stretch….
|Here is the Calamari. Bodies are sliced, tentacles on the side. Ready for the pot|
|Here’s the Calamari in the Pot. They cook in about 90 seconds|
|Golden Garlic Crostini – they soak up broth like a sponge!|
When plating, remove the Sea Bass from the pan and arrange in the individual pieces in the center the bowls. Spoon the Zuppa over the fish and garnish each bowl with 2 crostini. Serve immediately!
|The Finished Zuppa di Pesce – Mangia!|
No meal this fine would be complete without wine. (naturally!) and while some may have reached for a white, I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t in the mood. I figured, with the tomato based broth, I could find a red that would work well. I succeeded.
The 2009 Falesco Montiano is pure Merlot, 100% from the hills outside of Rome. I love this wine – vintage after vintage it offers amazing complexity, ripeness and consistency. It’s not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as other wines of similar quality. This was my first tasting of this vintage and it’s one to stock up on.
In the glass, it’s bright, dark purple with an engaging nose of sage, lavendar, black plummy fruit and coffee. In the mouth the wine is ripe and round with deep plum flavors accented by leather, black olive and herbs. Why can’t all Merlot be like this? It’s absolutely delicious and paired well with the food. The buttery texture of the Sea Bass really brought out the fruit in the wine and the acids stood up well to the tomato broth. All in all, it was outstanding. The 2009 is something special. 93 points, about $36.
|2009 Falesco Montiano – Gorgeous Merlot from the Roman Hills!|