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Mediterranean Fish ala Cioppino’s


Description

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Scale

Ingredients

2 fish fillets, skinless if possible. but you can easily remove the skin off after cooking

Splash of good quality olive oil

½ medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings

8 or so pitted olives, your favourite kind will do

8 or so grape tomatoes, sliced in half (I love the San Marzano mini tomatoes for this dish)

12 tbsp. drained capers

2 thick slices of salami, your preference, diced (you can also use a smoked chorizo sausage)

½ lemon

¾ cup, or so, of your favourite white wine


Instructions

This recipe is barely that, more just a list of ingredients and a simple cooking technique you adapt to however many servings you need.  As the olives, capers and salami are salty, you won’t need to add any extra salt during the cooking process.

Here’s the procedure for two servings.

Salt the fish fillets with a light sprinkling, and set aside. You could use a seafood seasoning if you prefer, but the genius of this recipe is its simplicity, which allows the fresh flavours to be the star of the dish.

Set a frying pan over medium heat, choosing a pan size that’s just a bit bigger than the fish fillets. Too big, and the liquid will boil off before the fish is cooked. Stainless steel or cast iron is better than a non-stick one.

Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the shallot, capers, tomatoes, olives and salami. Squeeze half a lemon into the pan. Add the wine or water to the pan, and stir to mix ingredients. Bring to a boil and lay the fish on top of the ingredients. Cover the pan, making sure it continues to boil quite vigorously. Start checking the fish for doneness after 4 minutes. You want to be able to easily flake the fish with a fork, but you don’t want to overcook it. I found that it’s generally taken about 6 minutes for the fish to be cooked to medium-well doneness. Just slightly undercooked is best, as it will continue to finish cooking for a bit after you remove it from the pan.

You can serve this dish as is, or put some sort of base in the bowl. Polenta, cooked white beans, steamed baby potatoes all work, and some toasted garlic bread on the side is divine to dip into the delicious broth.

Divide the sauce and ingredients between two shallow bowls, and place a fish fillet on top.  Garnish with some finely chopped Italian parsley if you prefer. That’s it!


Notes

A note on wine: Chef Pino used water for his broth, and I commented on his video to ask why he wouldn’t use wine. His answer? I prefer to drink my wine! Valid point, but I think wine makes it even better.

A note on fish: for this recipe I used Steelhead from Miracle Springs, a local, non-ocean impacting fish farm located a short 20 min drive from our market.

It’s probably no surprise that we love great food. So while Rob and I enjoy travelling and exploring new places on long, meandering road trips, the highlight of our day is finding the best restaurant in town. While Rob is driving, I’m usually on my phone, researching our next destination’s best eateries. It’s rarely the fanciest, just the best meal in town!

Our reminiscing of past vacations always includes rehashing the many fabulous meals we enjoyed. Yet despite enjoying delicious food in many unique places, Vancouver still has some of the best dining places we’ve experienced. At the top of Rob’s list is Cioppinio’s, Chef Pino’s Yaletown Italian eatery.  Always listed as one of Vancouver’s top restaurants, it’s become our family’s hallowed tradition to splurge on a fantastic Cioppino’s meal each fall to celebrate the end of the harvest season. So when I heard that Chef Pino was doing Instagram videos of some of his favourite dishes, I was hooked.

Above: Cioppino’s storefront in Yaletown, photo by Vancouver Eater

With his charming Italian accent and fabulous background music, it’s entertaining just watching him cook, even if you never attempt his recipes. The Mediterranean fish dish he demonstrated seemed too easy to be real, so I set out to try it myself. In fact, do yourself a favour and go and watch his video. Preferably while enjoying a glass of wine.

Let me just say I was blown away by how easy it was to prepare this restaurant-worthy meal.  Barely fifteen minutes of prep and cooking time with very little effort and just a few quality ingredients yielded a beautifully flaky fish fillet atop a delicious broth of Italian flavours. Now that we have Miracle Springs Arctic Char and Steelhead delivered fresh every week, it’s the perfect time to try this amazing recipe.

 

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