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Where the East meets the West

One of the most famous Italians of all time must be Marco Polo, who travelled and traded extensively throughout Asia centuries ago. It is even argued that some of the great Italian dishes were brought back from Asia or more specifically China, the argument for this will, I guess, always rage and no ultimate definitive proof will ever be established either way. But the coincidences are there . . . think about it. Did pasta spring up in both countries independently? Who would have thought or even think about rice being grown in Italy? Not to mention, similarities like (and I am sure you can think of more):

  • fettuccine = Chinese noodles
  • ravioli = wontons
  • cannelloni / canoli = spring rolls

This week's recipe reflects this very fact, by combining, in this case a Japanese fish preparation / cooking method with a traditional Italian recipe. Like all good chefs the Italians do like to keep their cooking of fish to a minimum, so as to retain the succulence of the flesh ensuring it is moist when eaten. The Japanese on the other hand do have this thing for eating fish and other seafoods raw although for a dish called sashimi they do also cook the fish. The deep fried fish (and vegetables) coated in a light batter you might have enjoyed is called Tempura, which coincidentally enough is not really Japanese at all, but was introduced to them by the Portuguese traders centuries ago. In this vein then, I have taken a classic Italian dish and revamped it to encompass all of these traditions.

As with all dishes the better the ingredients the better the final dish. Do make sure you make fresh white breadcrumbs for this and do not substitute the store bought dried variety. Just cut the crusts off the bread and either grate it or quickly pulse it in a food processor.

The recipe can be applied to many types of fish but the oily types are best such as tuna, swordfish, salmon, trout, etc. Given that the method used is a little unusual only the freshest of fish should be used for this dish. You will be rewarded though with a mouth watering dish, where the fish is fresh, succulent, moist and full of all those flavours that scream . . . Viva Italia!

For previous Italian recipes I have covered:

TONNO MARGUERITE (for 4 people)

Ingredients for Tonno Marguerite

tuna boneless slices - (approx 2 cm thick)
tomatoes - Italian plum
olives - kalamata
anchovy fillets
breadcrumbs - fresh white
olive oil - virgin or extra virgin

How to make Tonno Marguerite

  • Place the tuna onto a cooling rack with a deep tray underneath to catch the oil

  • Season with salt and pepper on both sides and allow to sit for 5 minutes

  • While allowing the seasoning to penetrate, heat approx. one litre of oil in a saucepan, this must be heated until it just begins to smoke

  • With a large spoon or a ladle coat the tuna with the hot oil, allowing to drain away, turn over the tuna and repeat. This will sear the outside and allow the heat to just penetrate the surface

  • Place slices of tomatoes onto each slice, followed by some pitted olives, some basil leaves, capers, and anchovy fillets

  • Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place under a hot salamander (grill) until the breadcrumbs lightly toast - this should take no more than 1 minute

  • Place the fish on a nice white plate, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil around it (or use a flavoured olive oil: chilli, basil, truffle etc) and top with a nice head of basil for colour

Chef's Tip:

For presentation purposes I prefer to drizzle both a little red chilli oil and deep green basil oil around the plate

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com