Written by Chef Alan Zox Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
Correction: In the “Lobster, Chinese Style” column that ran two weeks ago, the time to steam the lobster was missing and it should be 10 minutes.
Alfredo Viazzi’s restaurants in New York City’s Greenwich Village were especially well known for their Italian seafood dishes. I often enjoy preparing Viazzi’s recipes for friends and family including Branzino in the bass family prepared in seaweed, cold stripped bass with garlic butter, baccala al verde, and fish stew Livorno Style.
But Viazzi’s swordfish messina style was one of my favorites. It reminds me of the many memorable meals I ate at Viazzi’s when I lived in the New York City area. His food was exceptional and reminded me of the trattoria dishes of Italy.
Alfredo’s small cafes are a thing of the past however, even though chef owners like Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali among others continue to specialize in the Italian brand and elevate it to new heights. Yet small, privately-owned cafes or trattorias are less common today. The Little Italys of New York, or Providence, RI’s Federal Hill, or San Francisco’s waterfront Italian cafes are disappearing although Italian cuisine has become more popular than ever.
As restaurant styles change and recipes come and go with the times, so too do the foodstuffs and species we have enjoyed in the past change — and sometimes they even disappear. Weakfish, also known as sea trout, were among the most delicious of salt water meals. Sadly, they no longer can be found in the waters of North America. Bluefish are so plentiful today that many fish markets have chosen not to sell them at the low prices they bring. Cod on the other hand is becoming scarce and prices have subsequently risen. In fact, growing numbers of fish markets do not even carry cod. Tilapia, catfish, and much of the salmon sold today are all farm raised, which are not as flavorful as fish caught in the open ocean.
Swordfish on the other hand is available and the mercury found in previous years has decreased significantly. And it still is caught in the wild. The recipe Alfredo Viazzi provides us is as special as ever although partially fried. I have reduced the amount of butter and oil making the dish healthier than in the past.
• 2 lbs fresh swordfish, cut in 6 equal slices
• ½ cup flour
• ¾ cup olive oil
• 4 tbs sweet butter1 large yellow onion, peeled
and thinly sliced
• 1 ½ tbs red wine vinegar
• Sea salt and white pepper to taste
• 1 tbs chopped parsley
• Pinch of ginger
• Pinch nutmeg
• ½ cup dry white wine
Wash swordfish under cold water and dry well. Dust with flour. Heat with ½ cup olive oil until very hot, several slices at a time, 3 minutes for each side. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Heat ¼ cup oil with ½ tablespoon butter in a skillet, and sauté onion to a golden, translucent color. Add wine vinegar and let evaporate. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of white pepper , parsley and ginger. Drain off oil and butter, and set onion aside.
Break up remaining butter into chunks in a baking dish, add nutmeg and wine, and place in preheated oven. When butter is melted and wine reduced, (about 6 minutes), arrange swordfish in dish, and spoon butter over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes. Cover each piece with onion, and cook another 3 minutes. Spoon juices over fish, and serve. Mangia!
Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00
With a general discontent about the view-blocking pedestrian railings recently installed along West Shore Road, the discussion at the Oyster Bay Civic Association meeting on Sept. 18 focused on the possibility of having the road designated as a scenic highway.
This concept was suggested by Gregory Druhak of Centre Island, a regular traveler along West Shore Road, who said, “I believe this is the most scenic drive on Long Island west of the Hamptons, perhaps on all of Long Island itself, and it is not being treated as such. I feel we are being given the Lefferts Boulevard [down by JFK airport] expressway extension instead. For all you can see, it might as well be the Belt Parkway below the fence instead of Oyster Bay. This is wrong.”
Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:00
This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.
The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.
The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.
Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:00
Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:
5 & 6 Peanuts:
The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.
Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.
Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.