Thursday is market day in Bradford on Avon and I usually go to buy free fish from the fish mongers, two brothers who have taken over their dad's business. They are there setting up already at 7:15 so I make my way to the square right after dropping the children off at the bus stop at 7:20, an early start but well worth the reward of full choice of fresh fish and other delights (razor clams and mussels, oysters and cuttlefish...). Yesterday I bought some very fresh looking red mullet (mullet - or triglia in Italian - is the one fish you absolutely want to make sure to be extremely fresh as it tends to degrade very quickly, starting to smell rather too fishy after just a couple of days...there is an odd saying in Italy 'fare l'occhio di triglia' when referring to a hazy lover's look) with the intention of making some pasta to go with it.
Taglierini with red mullet sauce is a recipe from Liguria, the thin sea-bordering region in North-western Italy, bordering with France to the West and Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany to the North and East, while the South is facing the Mediterranean Sea. Strong marine traditions have always influenced Liguria's cuisine and it is a region I highly recommend you visit if you have a trip to Italy in mind.
Taglierini al sugo di triglia
Ingredients (serves 4 if you then serve a main)
400g taglierini (approx 3 eggs worth of pasta)
3-4 medium size red mullet, extra fresh and filleted (ask the fish monger)
3 tbsp xv olive oil
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, chopped or minced
1/2 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
400g chopped tomatoes
zest of 1/2 lemon (organic), optional
pinch of chilli flakes
Make the pasta following the recipe in the link, if you do not have a chitarra use the tagliatelle pasta cutter of your machine keeping the pasta sheets slightly thicker. For the sauce cut the fish fillets into small cubes. In a large pan sauté the onion, garlic parsley and chilli in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the pieces of mullet (make sure you eliminate all the bones) and the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste and the lemon zest. Cook on low heat covered for no longer than 15min in total.
In the meantime bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, cook the taglierini for 2-3 minutes maximum (they should still have a bite), drain them and put in the pan with the sauce. Stir well and serve immediately with a glass of crisp white wine.