Search This Blog

Monday, January 10, 2011

Moldavian fried carp with polenta and garlic sauce

This is a recipe from Moldova (Romanian historical region) and it is Miriam's dad specialty. He performed it for us during our winter holiday when we visited our parents. The carp is commonly found here and it's a white meat fatty still-water fish very used in Romanian kitchens (as is polenta). The combination of the two (and the garlic sauce) is a replica of what our grandfathers used to put on the table in the past hundreds of years. Simple, but valuable to us in its ancestor-ish charm. Ready in 30-40 minutes.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 600-700 g freshly caught carp
  • 400 g corn maize
  • 1 whole garlic
  • some olive oil
  • some salt and pepper

Remove the carp's head and bowels and throw them away. Don't remove the flippers. Slice the fish in more manageable pieces and remove every scale you can find with a knife or a special tool:

It's better if this is done close to a source of cold running water, to remove any impurities from the fish:

After you're done de-scaling, put the fish pieces in a large bowl:

Cut the fish into thinner slices:

Continue cutting in smaller pieces:

When you're done, put all the pieces in a bowl:

Cover the bottom of a large plate with some corn maize:

Heat some cooking oil in a large frying pan (traditionally sunflower kernel oil is used, but we preferred olive oil):

Add some salt and pepper to the corn maize plate, mix and start pressing each fish piece into it on all sides:

Once you covered a fish piece in maize, put it in the frying pan:

Repeat the procedure for more pieces until the pan is full (each piece should be in direct contact with the pan's surface):

Let them fry for about 7-10 minutes on medium-high heat intensity (but adapt according to the thickness). Turn them on the other side:

... and let them fry for another 7-10 minutes until thy're done:

Repeat the procedure for the remaining fish pieces. In the meantime, peel and clean the garlic:

Prepare a smashing device for the garlic. The wooden one shown here is a Moldavian traditional one specially designed for garlic sauce, called a scăciţă, and its wooden spatula is called a pisălog. Similar ones can be admired in ethnographic museums in Bucovina. 

Put the cleansed garlic cloves in your device and smash them until they gain a creamy consistency:

Put the remaining corn maize in 750 ml of water:

Add a dash of salt. Put it over a heat source and let it come to boil. Retrun to the garlic sauce:

Add some salt to it and mix again, making sure it's creamy:

If you want, you may add some olive oil and the juice from half a lemon to the sauce and mix again, but the traditional (and somewhat too intense and raw tasting version) is only supposed to contain garlic, salt and maybe a spoon of water to make it more fluid. We went non-traditional:

Return to the polenta. When boiling, leave to boil for 5 minutes more, stirring:

When it has a creamy consistency, it's done:

Put the fish, polenta and garlic sauce on plates and serve while it's hot. Dig in!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...