Big elbows know where the good stuff is

The best seafood truck in the market at Camucia, just below Cortona, is just past the live poultry on the right. You know it’s the best, because there are ladies that might appear to be easily tired by stirring the sugar into their coffee or tentative about crossing a street unassisted even with the light, that shove their way through the crowds with a strength and focus reserved for super heros, in order to make their way to the counter. Lately the fish monger has introduced a small red machine that offers the opportunity of first come, first serve. The determination of certain customers has no patience for modern technology and so I waited what felt like generations for my fish. There is no other option. With what kind of morals can you whiz through the grocery store coming out with mediocre when fabulous is two blocks and a few bruises away?
For lunch, once we were all rounded up, Shirley made us the most amazing bruschetta with hand sliced prosciutto and mozzarella di bufala, with a garnish of fried fresh sage. We went on to a roasted cherry tomato risotto with fresh basil and garlic and finished with a little bit of seafood spectacular. I know there is somebody out there that is going to say my technique is all wrong, but I have little patience for someone that assumes what is right for them is right for me.
I start with a can of San Marzano tomatoes, and I remove them from their juice. I heat up the pan glazed with olive oil with half a head of garlic, a sprig of fresh marjoram, and a sprig of parsley. I add finely chopped and peeled potatoes until they have begun to color and stick to the pan, and then just enough water to barely come to the top of the potatoes. I cook that with no lid, a whole peperoncino and a little salt until the potatoes are barely tender. I add a cup of dry and delicious white wine and squeeze of lemon. Remove the peperoncino. I let that cook for another five minutes, and then add my tomatoes that I have squished with my hand. Another ten minutes over a low flame. Potatoes do not like to be rushed.
In ANOTHER pan I get my olive going with finely chopped fresh garlic, a little chopped fresh parsley and a swirl of butter. When the garlic is nearly golden, I add a half cup of white wine, let it simmer for a few minutes, and then add tiny little mussels, covered, just until they open. I remove them, and do the same with shrimp still wearing their shells as I did with the mussels. As soon as they begin to curl, and I give them a sprinkle of salt, and set them in the bowl. Lastly a tender white fish, chopped into three inch long pieces, cleaned, but bone and skin on, seared in olive oil with a pinch of salt right at the end. The fish is cooked only until no longer pink and not a second more. I combine all the seafood and give everything a swirl of the best olive oil in the house and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Another swirl of olive oil for the tomatoes and potatoes, and tiny bit of fresh parsley, and then I ladle some into everyone’s dish, and then a pile of fruits of the sea. Fantastic. It’s worth it to be pushy even when you are old, for good fish. I can’t argue that.

Leave a Reply