Saturday, April 24, 2010

RECIPE - Fish a Delicia (Peixe Delícia)

This traditional recipe from the state of Ceará, on Brazil's northeast coast, combines local fish fillets with plantains (banana-da-terra) in a cheesy white sauce to provide a delicious (hence the name "Delícia") and rich main course, served traditionally with white rice.

The fish that's used most commonly locally is black grouper (sirigado), but this dish works equally with with any with other white-fleshed fish such as snapper, halibut or sablefish. Plantains are increasingly available in supermarkets in North American metropolitan areas, and can also be found in Latin and Asian markets in larger cities.

As they say here in Brasil: "é uma delícia!" (It's delicious!)
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RECIPE - Fish a Delicia (Peixe Delícia)
Serves 2

1 pound (500 gr.) black grouper (sirigado) or other firm-fleshed fish fillets
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium plantains, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups bechamel sauce (click here for instructions)
1/4 lb. (100 gr.) thinly sliced mozzarella cheese (pizza-style, not fresh)
2 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese
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Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat, then saute the fillets until cooked and tender. Do not let them overcook, or they will flake and fall apart. Reserve. In another  medium frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat, add the plantain slices and fry until the plantain is cooked and the slices are nicely browned.

In a ceramic or glass baking/serving dish, cover the bottom with plantain slices. Use 1 cup of bechamel to cover the plantain. Add the fish fillets in one layer, then cover with the remaining cup bechamel. Finish with a layer of mozzarella slices sprinkled with parmesan. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Serve immediately, accompanied by white rice.

Recipe adapted and translated from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

3 comments:

  1. Is the use of mozzarella and parmigiano based on the imports from the colonial era or are those just more easily available substitutes for traditional local cheeses? If the latter, what are the traditional ones?

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  2. I'd say that the use of these European cheese styles is due to both of the factors you mention - they are easily available in any supermarket here in Brazil, and the styles themselves came to Brazil with Italian immigrants in the late 19th-early 20th centuries.
    There are many very interesting traditional Brazilian cheese, like mineiro and coalho. I've been planning on posting something about Brazilian cheeses soon here on Flavors of Brazil - maybe you're comment will provide me with the impetus!

    Thanks for the comment, by the way.

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