Monday, March 21, 2011

Involtini di prosciutto e platessa alla mugnaia - Prosciutto & fish rolls à la Meunière

We spent the day at the beach in Liguria on Saturday with friends. The weather was not great and the beach we went to was not the prettiest the region has to offer, but it was the perfect meeting point with our friends, who were travelling from the opposite direction. We brought blankets and sandwiches. We stuffed ourselves silly on foccaccia (for those who don't know, foccaccia comes from Liguria). The kids dug holes and made sand cakes. They threw stones and pebbles into the water and ran around barefoot in the waves. It is always amazing how busy a little grey, cold wet sand can keep children of all ages. And it is reassuring to see that despite the world we live in, surrounded by plasma screens, blu rays, ipods, ipads, iphones, x boxes, wii, playstation - you name it, kids can still create a whole adventure using a few different colored pebbles, a stick and a bucket of water.

To remember the nice day, yesterday we had fish.

Opposites attract. This dish is living proof of that theory. Surf'n'turf is called mare e monti (literally sea and mountains) in Italian. It may seem a little unusual to combine cured pork and fish but the saltiness of the prosciutto tenfolds the flavor of this delicate fish, making it much more interesting. Add a sort of meunière sauce to it, a few capers and you will be set.

I used plaice for this dish. It is a European, very common flat saltwater fish. Sole haddock can be used as substitutes for this recipe.*

plaice fillets or substitute
prosciutto (1 slice per fillet)
olive oil
1 lemon
(chopped parsley)
(white wine)

Place the fillets skin side up and cover with a slice of prosciutto. Roll them up and then roll in salt-seasoned flour. Place in a baking dish and sprinkle with the zest of the lemon. Place a little pillow of butter on each fillet and scatter a few more pieces around. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the fish, drizzle with a little olive oil, add some capers, some fresh pepper and cook in pre-heated oven at 160-170°C for about 25 minutes. If you have an open bottle of white wine, splash a little in whilst baking. Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley (I didn't have any). 

*While researching substitutes for plaice, I unfortunately found out from Wikipedia that plaice, haddock and sole, along with other major bottom-feeding fish, are listed by the ICES as "outside safe biological limits." Meaning some kinds are overfished in some areas.


  1. This day... and this meal is my definintion of heaven! So beautiful!

    I promise you I am going to make this dish, I love everything about it! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Sorry about spelling mistakes - I should check before I hit submit!

    Oh and the other one I am making is that lemon rosemary cake you did...soon!

  3. What a lovely meal. It looks and sounds delicious and I'm sure those gorgeous children enjoyed every bite. This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did. I really like the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. This dish sounds really good. I am drooling over the pictures of the fish being prepared and cooked! Proscuitto was the most difficult thing for me to "give up" when we became pescatarian. I used to crave it for at least a year or more after we stopped eating meat. This almost makes me want to "relapse."

  5. Buono!!! You made me miss the "real" focaccia so much!!! The one you find in Liguria cannot be found anywhere else in the whole world!!!

    I love your involtini! Great idea to combine prosciutto with fish! :-)

  6. Oops... I had not finished. I love the idea of the saltiness of prosciutto getting "transferred" to the delicate fish! :-)

  7. DD&W - glad you liked. Let me know how it turns out, it was my first time. And let me know about the cake too, I didn't make it but it sounds good... ;o)
    Mary - Glad you are enjoying.
    Stevie - Sorry to be a temptress!
    Manu - I know, the foccaccia isn't half as good in Milan, just over 100kms away...forget the rest of the world!

  8. Loved the photos of the involtini and just adored the photos of the kids! :D

  9. Ahhhh your pics remind me of cool weather days on the beaches at Cape Cod... I would nestle in a sand dune out of the wind and the kids would run crazy on the beach!!! And...this dish looks delicious! Would not have paired fish with prosciutto until I read your post! Brilliant!

  10. Lorraine - This is one of those evening pictures taken without light while the whole family is more or less patiently sitting at the table waiting for food. Not ideal conditions to concentrate on how to get a decent shot...glad you aprreciated the effort!
    UrMomCooks - I have never been to Cape Cod but would love to go there. It is a strange combination, the fish and prosciutto, untile you taste it. It is almost reminiscent of anchovies.


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