Mar 2, 2009

Fish recipe: Ricciola al Marsala

It's all about variations lately. When engaged in therapeutic stove side puttering, I have recently begun knuckling down with alternate variants of typical everyday Italian recipes. These newfound versions usually engage fish, another one of my current culinary obsessions.

For this year’s blogosphere potluck Festa Italiana 2009, hosted by bloggers Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie of Proud Italian Cook, I have taken the world-famous Sicilian Scaloppine al Marsala and turned them into a creamy and aromatic amberjack party. Quick to make, easy as pie and tasty too. I served my sassy scaloppine alongside a crunchy iceberg and shredded fennel salad, lightly tossed with extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, dash of dill and a just a wee drop of apple cider vinegar.

Ricciola is the Italian name for Amberjack (Seriola dumerilii - you can look up the English translation to fish names in this post). These long and slender fish tend to like the high seas of Italy’s southern coastal waters, and are delicately flavored, with firm, white flesh and very few bones. They can be considerably large, so I usually purchase my ricciola in fillets or actual steaks. That’s what I used for this recipe. As you chill the white wine and pull out your party clothes, assemble the following:

4 amberjack steaks (200g/8 oz each, roughly)
Unbleached all purpose flour
A sprig of rosemary
A small bunch of fresh sage
1 glass of Marsala liqueur
1/2 cup vegetable stock (ok, ok can be made with bouillon cube)
50 g (1/4 cup) butter
Salt and white pepper to taste
(yields 4 servings)

Melt the butter in a large enough skillet to hold your fish steaks all in one layer, over mild heat with the rosemary and the sage.
Pat the steaks dry (this will avoid lumps in the flour coating, which could burn in the butter: big no-no) and dredge them in the flour. Shake off excess flour and sauté the amberjack steaks in the frothy butter for a couple of minutes on each side. Pour in the Marsala and allow it to evaporate. Adjust seasoning with very little salt and a dash of white pepper if you like, and transfer the steaks on a warm serving platter. Keep the skillet with the drippings; you’ll need it in a minute.

Dissolve a tablespoon of flour in the vegetable stock and bring to a low simmer in the fish skillet. Reduce the fondo, deglazing over very mild heat, as you stir with a wooden spoon. Pour the thick, velvety gravy over the steaks and serve with a cheeky smile on your face.
Buon Appetito e Buona Festa Italiana a tutti!


  1. Thanks for joining the festa with this lovely dish, Lola! :)

  2. I really like the look of this. See you at the feast!

  3. Lola, Thank you for this beautiful and tasty dish, I know it will be a big hit at our festa! Thanks for joining us!
    xox, Marie

  4. I'm discovering so many new creations while visiting this year's Festa Italiana round-up.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'm not sure I will be able to find amberjack steaks but I will certainly try...

  5. Thank you ladies, see you at the festa!

  6. Louise,
    if you have trouble finding amberjack, any delicate white fish will do, or even salmon. Or abalone! Experiment and report back,
    Ciao ciao

  7. Thank you Lola, I certainly will...

  8. I saw your dish at the Italian fiesta and it looks fabulous. Amberjack, rosemary, sage and Marsala - how can you go wrong. We love fish and thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  9. Sam, thank YOU for stopping by my blog. I love to cook while making new friends! Ciao

  10. oh your blog is pure inspiration! my husband will be happy i've found you!

  11. Thank you Lori ann, and thank you to...your husband too! Ciao

  12. I've never thought to cook amberjack in this way. Anything with Marsala has GOT to be good!

  13. Indeed Rowena, Marsala does appeal to many. Ciao and thanks for stopping by. Come back soon, ciao