Why not have a go at recreating the fabulous fish dish Giancarlo cooked in store on 26th September to celebrate Maloney’s Budgens Ascot new look.
Pesce all’acqua pazza (Fish in crazy water)
This dish is all about the fish! I can’t emphasise this enough. It’s about getting a really fresh fish, cooking it simply and quickly, and enjoying its flavour. The water is turned ‘crazy’ with the addition of tomatoes, chilli and salt. A friend of ours told us that when eating out, she’ll ask if they use wine in the sauce, and if they do, she will simply eat elsewhere! In her opinion even the addition of chilli is a step too far; she feels that acqua pazza should contain only garlic, salt and black pepper, olive oil, parsley and of course the ripest, most flavourful tomatoes you can lay your hands on.
Now bearing in mind that the lucky Amalfitani live next door to their very own 24/7 fresh fish counter and the flavours of the tomatoes grown around Vesuvio are really strong, I think it’s fair to make some allowances. I live inland and as far from any sea as you can get in the UK, so if I want to eat a dish like this I would recommend adding a good splash of homemade shellfish stock (see recipe below) in place of the water.
4 medium cloves of garlic
2 whole small sea bream or 1 large sea bass, cleaned and deboned
salt and freshly ground black pepper
‘00’ or plain flour, to coat the fish
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red chilli, depending on strength, finely chopped
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
400 ml (13 fl oz/1 ¾ cup) hot water or fish stock
handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Put one whole clove of garlic inside the cavity of each fish and finely slice the other cloves for the sauce. Season and flour the fish and tap off the excess flour. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and fry the fish for about 5 minutes on each side, then discard the oil from the pan. Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the sliced garlic, chilli and cherry tomatoes for a couple of minutes, making sure that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the hot water or fish stock and bring to the boil. Allow it to boil viciously until the liquor reduces. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.
Brodo ai frutti di mare
It is well worth making this stock as the flavour is rich and impressive. It can always be frozen if you make a large enough batch.
5 tablespoons olive oil
300 g lobster, crab or prawn heads and shells, or a mixture of all three
1 white onion, peeled and cut into eighths
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped (add the leaves and ends too if you like)
1 large tomato, quartered
Handful of parsley stalks
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry all the ingredients together over a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until they brown and start to stick to the bottom of the pan – this is our chef Gregorio’s tip. Add 3 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 40 minutes. Taste the stock and if the flavour isn’t rich enough simmer for a further 10 minutes.
For a subtle stock strain off the fish and vegetables and keep the liquor only. For a stronger flavour pick out any lobster or crab shells, leaving only the vegetables and prawn shells. Put all of this through a passatutto, or food mill, and grind. The stock will be thicker and much more flavourful.