Grouper Matalotta in Tomato-Wine Sauce
alla Matalotta” - " Cernia ‘a
The Cernia alla Matalotta is a signature dish in Trapani and in the costal towns of this province. The grouper,
in Sicilian, is a versatile fish because of his texture and
lean flesh and in fact it is suitable for stewing, steaming, baking or roasting.
The following recipe is very simple nevertheless it will be appreciated. It takes little time to prepare, yet it is
tasty, colorful and has an exceptional blend of flavors.
However, in the restaurants to enhance its presentation, this simple fish stew cooked “allamarinara” was
given the fancy name “alla
from the French matelote,
sailor style: with this name it commanded compliments to the chef as well as a few extra lires on the price
I will repeat as I have stated in other fish recipe: buy fresh fish from a reliable fishmonger.
Smell the fish before you buy; it should not have any ammonia or fishy odor, it should look moist and the flesh
should be firm to your touch.
Fillets of grouper are preferred in this preparation; however you can use stripe bass, sea bass, red snapper, or
any other fresh fish fillet with a lean and firm flesh.
lb. fish fillets, wash, pat dry and cut into 4
tablespoons of olive oil
medium onion, sliced
cloves of sliced garlic crushed
fresh tomatoes or 1 ½ cups of canned peeled tomato
cup of white wine
cup of green olives pitted
tablespoon of capers
cup of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Rinse the tomatoes well. Peel off the skin, cut in half, remove some seeds and dice. If using canned tomatoes
remove some seed and chop them coarsely. Sprinkle tomatoes with ¼ teaspoon of salt and set on the side.
In a large skillet, over a medium heat combine onions and the oil, sauté for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and
continue cooking until golden, total time 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic.
Set on top of the sautéed onions the fish, and the bay leaf; season with salt and pepper, moisten with the wine and
increase the heat to high to evaporate the alcohol. About 1 minute.
Cover the fillets with the parsley, chopped tomato, olives, and capers, add ½ cup of water, cover the skillet tight
and let simmer at low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish and spoon the cooking sauce on the top.
Garnish with parsley sprigs; serve with sautéed zucchini or sautéed spinach, a
fresh loaf of Italian bread and a bottle of a young Sicilian white wine, a Catarratto or Alcamo Bianco, which are
produced in the province of Trapani, or else a fresh Californian Chardonnay.