Italy is surrounded by the sea where there is an abundance of fresh fish. Seafood is a very important part of the Italian cuisine and fresh seafood is the key to the best tasting Italian meals. Regional recipes for salt-water fish—and sometimes for fresh-water fish from Italy’s many lakes, rivers, and streams—are some of the most celebrated dishes in Italian cuisine. One of the reasons that the Mediterranean people and their diet is so healthy is that they eat a lot more fish than they eat meat. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and shellfish including mussels, oysters, and clams have similar benefits for the brain and heart health.
Adding Italian flavors to your fish, makes dinner so much more interesting. Try these out next time you are cooking fish.
- 1 pound large peeled fresh or frozen (thawed) cooked shrimp
- 1 pint yellow and/or red cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup tomato (marinara) sauce
- 1 small baguette or small loaf of Italian bread
- 4 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
Remove the tails from the shrimp, if present. Combine the shrimp, tomatoes, parsley and marinara sauce in a saucepan and heat just until warm.
Preheat the broiler.
Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise and then crosswise, so you have four pieces. Place the bread on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes or until light, golden brown.
Spread the ricotta on the toasted bread and top with the warmed shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes and parsley before serving.
Tuna Club Sandwiches
- 1/3 cup creamy Italian salad dressing, recipe below
- 1/2 cup bottled roasted red sweet peppers, drained
- One 12 ounce can solid white tuna, drained and broken in chunks
- One 8 3/4 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
- 12 extra-thin slices sandwich bread, lightly toasted
- Butter head lettuce leaves
For the roasted red pepper sauce:
In a blender container combine the salad dressing and half the roasted red sweet peppers; process until nearly smooth.
For tuna filling:
Chop the remaining peppers. In a mixing bowl combine the chopped peppers with the tuna, corn and 1/4 cup of the roasted red pepper sauce.
For each club sandwich: spread two slices of toasted bread with tuna filling, layer with lettuce leaves, stack the two slices, then top with a third slice of toast.
Cut in half diagonally. Serve with remaining roasted red pepper sauce as a dipping sauce.
Light Creamy Italian Dressing
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a jar or mixing bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Use immediately or store in a jar in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Sea Bass with Fennel Salad
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Dash ground black pepper
Fish and Salad
- 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed, thinly sliced and then cut into thin strips (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup coarsely shredded carrot
- 1 lb fresh or frozen sea bass or grouper fillets, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Fresh fennel tops
To make the dressing:
In a screw-top jar, combine vinegar, oil, oregano, mustard, the 1/8 teaspoon salt and a dash black pepper. Cover and shake well. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the dressing in a small container with a cover and chill until serving time.
For the salad:
In a large bowl, combine the fennel strips and carrot. Pour the remaining dressing over the fennel mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
For the fish:
Pat the fish dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, stir together the crushed fennel seeds, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sprinkle evenly over both sides of the fish.
Heat a stove top grill ( or use the broiler).
Grill for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness of fish or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Carefully turn fish once halfway through grilling.
Drizzle the reserved 1 tablespoon dressing over the grilled fish. Cut the fish into four pieces and serve with the fennel salad. Garnish with fennel tops.
- 1 lb fresh white fish fillets, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 small zucchini or yellow summer squash
- 1 large carrot
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 8 ounces dried pappardelle pasta (wide noodles)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling.
Trim zucchini. Trim and peel carrot. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini and carrot lengthwise into thin ribbons. Set aside.
Cook pappardelle pasta al dente according to the package directions and add the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta and broccoli.
In a large skillet, heat oil and cook the fillets about three minutes on each side. Place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
In the same skillet, combine the wine, broth, Italian seasoning, the salt and the crushed red pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.
Simmer, uncovered, about 4 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Bring back to boiling.
Add drained pasta, broccoli and vegetable ribbons to the skillet. Gently cook and stir until the pasta is coated with the sauce mixture and thickens slightly.
Stir in the cherry tomatoes, the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and half of the parsley. Heat until the cheese is incorporated and the tomatoes are slightly softened.
Divide pasta, vegetables and sauce into four individual pasta bowls. Break fish into large chunks and place on top of each pasta serving. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
Swordfish with Citrus Salsa
- 1 lb fresh or frozen swordfish or tuna steaks, cut 1 inch thick and divided into 4 steaks
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 blood oranges or red grapefruit
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
Pat fish dry with paper towels. Set aside.
In a small saucepan cook the green onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until the onions soften. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Crumble saffron threads into the mixture; stir. Let stand to infuse the saffron.
Cut a thin slice from one end of each orange or grapefruit and the lemon, so the fruit will sit level. Working on a cutting board, cut down from the top of the fruit to remove the peel and white part of the rind.
Working over a bowl to catch the juices, remove the fruit sections by cutting into the center of the fruit between one section and the membrane; cut along the other side of each section next to the membrane to free the section. Remove seeds.
Add saffron mixture to the bowl with the fruit sections and juices. Stir in the mint, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
Lightly brush both sides of the swordfish steaks with the remaining olive oil; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Grill fish on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat for 8 to 12 minutes or just until fish flakes when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through cooking time. Or use a stove top grill or a broiler.
Add some asparagus spears to the grill with the fish. Turn the asparagus several times during the grilling time.
Gently stir fruit-mint mixture to combine and spoon over the fish. Serve the asparagus on the side.