Though autumn is just about here, it’s still swimming season at NYC’s A Voce Madison as chef Missy Robbins is serving up a fish-focused tasting menu through the end of September. While enjoying her "Degustazione di Mare" recently, we asked Robbins about her favorite catches from around the globe.
Sardines from Portugal
"I love that they feel so Mediterranean. They are oily and flavorful and they take to a lot of different ingredients. Pasta con sarde is one of my favorite dishes, and I like to cure them with a lot of acid, oil, herbs, and citrus. I also like to salt-cure them. I’ve eaten them all over the Mediterranean. In Greece I ate them just grilled with lemon. In Italy, I loved them on the Amalfi Coast."
Uni from Santa Barbara, CA
"There is nothing that compares to Santa Barbara in terms of uni, especially fresh out of the shell. It has this incredibly sweet, floral flavor and the pieces are a little bit bigger and meatier than usual. I make crudo with it—really simple with lemon juice, olive oil, and fennel pollen. I use it in pastas a lot, too, and we make vinaigrettes out of it. If you find it at a sushi bar, get it."
Spot Prawns from Santa Barbara, CA
"They are the best, sweetest shrimp and really tender. It’s one of those wild things that are not always available, but you can find them at a really good fishmonger. Develop a relationship with the fishmonger and have them order them for you. They are expensive but you won’t regret it."
Triggerfish from Florida
"Triggerfish is one of my new favorites. It has a really similar texture and look to John Dory. And it has the same kind of mouth feel when you cook it. It’s light, but still kind of hearty and sweet. We olive oil poach it and it takes great to that."
Swordfish from Southern Italy
"I love it because it is very Mediterranean and Italian and used in so many Southern Italian applications. It has a nice amount of oil, but it’s not overly oily. It’s hearty and when it’s marinated it takes to a lot of vinaigrettes. It also stands up to chilies and salsa verdes really well. I like to take the belly and make crudo out of it. If it’s sliced really, really thin it works well. Eating it in Southern Italy on the coast with a white wine is heaven."
Photo credit: Fish market via Shutterstock