CACCIUCCO A LA LIVORNESE
“Oggi” I propose a fish dish very typical of my city Livorno, a very important port city in Italy and with a great seafaring tradition. A me mi “piacce molto picante”! but everyone to his taste, you will not stop wetting bread…
Ingredients (6 persons):
-1kg of assorted fish (red mullet, conger eel, monkfish tail, dogfish, John Dory) . everyone can choose the one he likes the most. But in general it is white fish that can withstand cooking.
-600g of crustaceans (Norway lobster, shrimp, octopus, squid and/or cuttlefish).
-500g of mussels
-400 g of grated natural tomato.
-1 spoonful of tomato concentrate
-1 bunch of parsley
-half a glass of white wine
-2 chilli peppers
-salt + pepper
-2 / 3 cloves of garlic
-slices of toasted bread
Start by cleaning all the fish well. Take a large casserole and pour a good splash of olive oil. Brown two or three cloves of garlic to perfume the oil, together with one or two chilli peppers (I always use “quatro o cinque por lo menos!”)….
Then we add the grated natural tomato to the casserole. Add salt and a touch of pepper. I like to add a spoonful of tomato concentrate because it gives more flavor and body to the final sauce. If you don’t have tomato concentrate in a tube, you can also use Mutti “passata di pomodoro”. It is not very expensive and it is very concentrated… Finally we pour 1 small glass of “bianco” wine and the water of the mussels that we have previously opened in another casserole. This way we give our sauce all the flavor of “mare” possible. We must have enough liquid to cover all the fish that we are going to put in it. If you see that it lacks you can have at hand a good fumet (broth) of fish. We let it reduce to slow fire.
While the sauce is being reduced a little, we add the fish that take longer to cook. The point is that you have to be careful with the cooking order since it is recommended not to shake the pan too much once we have placed all the fish so that they do not break…
“I usually start by putting the squid, cuttlefish and/or octopus that need more cooking time, then the red mullet and fish with more endurance but with a lot of flavor, and finally the white fish such as monkfish, dogfish, etc., which need less cooking. Once everything is inside we put mussels, shrimps and/or clams. We let cook about 10 or 20 minutes more depending on the quantity that we have. Remember that the fish does not need much time of cooking but it can dry out…..To give the final touch we sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top and serve hot.
And here comes the final trick of this “delicious” dish is the toasted bread. At home we serve it with a slice of toasted bread at the bottom of the dish and the cacciucco on top…. Also “a casa mia” we often rub a garlic on the slice to give it stronger “sapore”. While eating you can dip more bread in the sauce…it is not very dietary to do this but “la vita é bella amici”!!!!
Buon appetito a tutti!