Recipes from Liguria: N° 6 - orata alla ligure

Gilt head bream was a must in Ancient Pompei, too


Alla ligure” (Ligurian style) is the generic definition used by cooks to refer to sautéed or baked fish, prepared with Liguria’s iconic ingredients: black, olive, pine nuts, vegetables…. According to the catch of the day, gilt head breams can be substituted by other white-flesh Mediterranean fish (e.g. sea bass, red snapper, saddle bream…). If properly prepared, this is one of the most elegant dishes of the regional cookbook.

Cooking time: approx. 30 minutes
Difficulty level: medium
Wine matching: white, DOC riviera ligure di ponente Vermentino
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 4 fresh gilthead breams, medium-sized (already gutted and filleted by your trusted fishmonger), 1 small clove of white garlic (peeled), 1 generous handful taggiasche black olives (approx. 40 g), 2 tablespoons Italian pine nuts (approx. 30 g), 1 rosemary sprig, 1 small white onion, 1 (scant) small glass dry white wine (approx. 60 ml), 4-5 tablespoons DOP riviera ligure extra virgin olive oil (approx. 60 ml). Please note that parsley does not feature in this declination of the recipe.

Cut 2-3 slanting incisions on the skin of the fish, then sauté in a pan (skinless side up at first) sauté with some oil for 5 minutes. Be careful, excessive cooking would make the fish chewy and dry. Mince (or thinly slice) the garlic and the onion and stir fry with the rosemary and the olives in the oil used to cook the fish (low heat for max 2 minutes), sprinkling with the wine. Place the fish back for a minute and serve hot.

A recipe by Umberto Curti, Ligucibario

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