When I visited the southeastern tip of Sicily in October, everyone was feasting on lampuca alla matalotta, filled with cherry tomatoes and capers and made with a delicious kind of blue-fleshed fish that approaches the coast that time of year; fishermen still lure this shade-loving fish by extending palm branches off the sides of their boats.
I learned later that this fish is also known as capone and that mahi mahi is our closest equivalent. I especially like the version served by chef Lina Campisi of La Cialoma, on which this recipe is loosely based; she leaves out the green olives often included by other cooks.–Toni Lydecker
Mahi Mahi Stewed with Cherry Tomatoes and Capers Recipe
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Makes 4 servings
- 4 fillets (about 1 1/2 pounds) cut from medium-firm fish such as mahi mahi, bonito, grouper, sea bream, sea bass, cod, or snapper
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup halved or quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/3 cup Mediterranean olives, pitted or unpitted (optional)
- Leaves from 1 or 2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon salt-preserved capers, soaked in water for several minutes and drained
- Hot red-pepper flakes
- 1. Sprinkle the mahi mahi fillets lightly with salt.
- 2. Combine the onion, olive oil, and 1/4 cup water in a skillet large enough to hold the mahi mahi in a single layer. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer briskly but not furiously until the onion is tender. Add the tomatoes, olives (if using), parsley, capers, red pepper flakes to taste, and another 1/4 cup water.
- 3. Once the cooking liquid returns to a simmer, lay the mahi mahi fillets on top, skin side down. Cover and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. At this point, the tomatoes will have released their juices and there should be a small ladleful of brothy sauce for each serving; if not, remove the mahi mahi to a platter, add a little more water and heat briefly. Taste and stir in a bit more salt and pepper flakes if needed.
- 4. Ladle the sauce into shallow soup bowls; place a mahi mahi fillet in each one.
Mahi Mahi Stewed with Cherry Tomatoes and Capers Recipe © 2009 Toni Lydecker. Photo © 2009 Tina Rupp. All rights reserved.