Italian cooks generally prepare fish as simply as possible, grilling, steaming, or frying it, with hardly any other flavor used to assist the fish’s own. To vary the routine, however, they may stew or bake it and introduce other ingredients, perhaps just garlic and parsley, or tomatoes, other vegetables, rosemary, wine. Whatever the combination, one must take care not to camouflage the delicate flesh or dull the freshness of the fish; it must not be a passive participant in any preparation. On the contrary, the stimulus of other flavorings must serve to prime it for an even livelier role.
In this recipe, such a stimulus is supplied by dried wild mushrooms. When reconstituted, they are sautéed in classic Italian fashion with olive oil, garlic, and parsley; then they are used as a marinade for the fish, which subsequently is baked together with the mushrooms.
Choose any fish with compact, somewhat fatty flesh. It ought not to flake easily, which rules out flounder and sole.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.