I had a bit of a rough weak and after a long day diving has always been a refuge…
not too much fish action today but I got a few that I really like to eat – Sargo which is a nice firm white fish with a heavy bloodline and Sheepshead (red and black here, as it is a male) clean white meat. It looks similar to the mediterranean Orata but the flavor is not as fishy. They school heavily but you’ll also see singles.
I personally love fishy flavors, as long as its fresh, not rancid fishy flavors. But then again I lie because I use fish sauce and…fish sauce is pretty rancid. I like red mullet bottarga, squid ink, and so my thought was to try to extract as much of the inherent flavor from the fresh Sargo as possible. That included skinning it and scaling it (I gut and gill the fish right when it’s caught). I’m salting the skin to season it and also extract moisture from it so I can deep fry it. Filleted, then diced the Sargo cubes (and removed the pin bones.)
roasted the bones and then made a stock with white wine, wild bay leaf, peppercorns, leeks, garlic, carrots, onion. and smashed the bones and meat and passed it through a china cap, and then a chinois.
Now that the hard work is done (getting the fish then prepping it)… Start softening a handful of minced shallots and minced garlic going on medium heat with olive oil, then midway through softening throw chopped fresno chilies in, then saute the diced sargo cubes in a second pan. In a third pan I started melting some calabrian chilies (hot! Use plenty 😉 ) and then added that to the shallot/garlic mix. I used Latini Bucatini for my pasta and boiled that in salted water in one big pot, then minutes before the Bucatini is done (I like a good bite), take it out directly into the garlic/shallots, and add the strained fish stock to let the pasta soak up the fish broth. Add clam juice to taste. Add some of the water from the big pot that you boiled the pasta in to incorporate starch into the sauce and saute vigorously to let the sauce bind to the pasta. Deep fry the skin. Season at every stage. Assemble.
rough directions 🙂 Any questions email me