Look, no disrespect, but the best Italian food is often the easiest and fastest to prepare. And you know why that is? Because conviviality trumps standing over a countertop making sauces and ignoring your guests. That’s one reason.
Another reason is that most home cooks don’t have the talent to make dishes that require years of practice, training under a chef who knows how things should taste, or a crew needed to prep for hours.
Italian cooking is adapted to the home. French cooking? I’m not saying you can’t bang out decent French stuff, but seriously? Better than a good restaurant? Not likely.
So stick to the basics.
And I think often of what Chef Patrick O’ Connell said to me in an interview: “Work on the same dish hundreds of times until it’s perfect. You’ll be lucky if at the end of your life you have ten dishes that you can rely upon.”
I’m not saying that the dish below has achieved perfection in The Haas Test Kitchen, but I am working on it.
It’s adapted from The Cookbook of Cookbooks, “The Young Man and The Sea,” from David Pasternack at ESCA.
The secret here, as always with Italian cooking, is the key ingredient of the fish. That means don’t buy the swordfish, noted below, from Whole Foods. I don’t know where you live; find someone who sells good fish high in fat.
Light the coals. When they are gray-red, take a plate and put some canola oil in it. Take a piece of swordfish, about 1/2 to 3/14 pound total for two people, and put it in the plate, turning on both sides. Take another plate and put good breadcrumbs in it. Turn the sword on both sides in that plate.
Put the sword on the grill, about 3-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness.
Remove. If still not done, microwave for 30 seconds.
Put on third plate. Slice into long pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Juice of a lemon. Parsley. Black pepper and salt to taste.
Are you kidding me? You still think French food is tops? C’mon, get outta here.