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Summer Delicacy ... The Scorpion Fish

The SCORPION FISH .... a monster of the deep sea, dwelling the Mediterranean crevices, or a chef's sought after delicacy?

Often caught around the reefs of Italian islands, it conjures up the long summers that I spent on one of the smallest islands of the Tuscan archipelago: Gorgona. I was probably 7 years old when I first saw the bright red colored fish that was untangled from the fishermen's nets and unloaded from the boats in the marina. Soon enough, I was pleased to learn that it was likely the only fish whose meat resembles lobster in texture: once it's cooked, it breaks down in consistent white morsels with an incredible taste . To the villagers in Gorgona it was considered the king of fish.

My suggestions? It should be slow cooked in a casserole with a splash of extra virgin olive oil , garlic, basil , some dry white wine and a hint of dry hot pepper. Served on a tray with toasted garlic bread. Another way is to scale, fillet the fish and grill on charcoal. Then serve with a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, a drizzle of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

And the bones? They can be used to prepare a fish stock (fumet) with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme and parsley : a very essential base for seafood pasta and risotto.

If you are headed to Tuscany this summer be sure to look for it on coastal menus ... you won't be disappointed!!



Salt your pasta water "like the ocean"



Reserve some pasta water from the pan as a natural thickener for your sauce.



Remember: seafood pasta dishes never get cheese!

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