Friday, December 23, 2005

Rombo allo Spumante

Sea Bass with a Sparkling Wine Sauce

I must admit, I do not love fish, I do not order fish in any restaurant unless I know the owner and have eaten there before. Raffaella is even very cautious when she prepares fish for me. In order for me to enjoy a fish dinner it must be extremely fresh and well prepared. My problem with fish is that I am a very physical person. When I eat I need to have something to crunch on, I need texture, and I need balance in flavor. Nothing can be overbearing. Fish must be fresh and prepared by a master to meet these conditions.

Italian tradition requires that Good Friday, that is every Friday, is a no meat day. Friday often meant risotto with asparagus or pasta with mushrooms. Every once in a while Raffaella, who loves fish even if not perfect, will prepare a fish main course. I know I am spoiled but I still must have my pasta or risotto! This is one of Raffaella’s inspirations taken from a recipe in “il Cucchaio di Argento” edited by Editoriale Domus. This will be our Christmas Eve main course.

The Rombo, unfortunately, is a Mediterranean species and is found only there. Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi or Tuna steak can be used in substitution.


4 fillet of Rombo (about ¼ lb each)
¼ lb (100 grams) of Champignon Mushrooms
¾ stick of butter (70 grams)
1 cup of Spumante Secco (dry sparkling wine)
1 Scallion diced
2 Tbs. Heavy Cream
1 Tbs. Cornstarch

Wash each fillet, drain and delicately pat dry with a towel.

Clean the mushrooms and slice thinly. On medium heat, melt ½ the butter in a skillet and add the scallion. Saute’ the scallion until transparent. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until they are slightly colored.

In a large skillet melt the remaining butter on medium heat. Add the fillets and brown on each side. Remove from the skillet and let drain. Remove the skillet from the heat. Place the fillets in the mushroom mix, sprinkle the fish with ½ the spumante, add salt and pepper, and cook together for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove the fillets from the mushroom mix, put the fillets in a serving dish and place in the oven at about 100 degrees to keep warm.

To the mushroom mix stir in the heavy cream. Allow the mushroom to simmer over low heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in a ¼ cup of warm water with a small whisk. Slowly stir into the mushrooms with a wooden spoon. Bring the heat back to medium low and add the remaining sparkling wine. Allow the sauce to thicken and reduce by ¼.

To serve pour the mushroom sauce over the fillets, sprinkle with some chopped parsley if desired, and serve immediately.


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