The Sicilians have a tradition of using breadcrumbs in many of their recipes, such as involtini di pesce spada or swordfish rollatini, which is dressed with dry oregano-seasoned bread crumbs. It makes sense that the large Sicilian immigrant population in the States would continue the recipe here, except, especially for the early immigrants, filet of sole was an easier to find, more economical substitute.
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large lemon, zested, half of the lemon juiced, the other half thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dry oregano
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dry white wine
6 skinless fillets of sole (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons tiny capers in brine, drained
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, lemon zest and dry oregano. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss until crumbs are evenly coated with the oil.
- Coat the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch Pyrex or similar baking dish with the softened butter. Arrange the lemon slices in a layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Pour in the lemon juice and white wine.
- Lay fish on your work surface and press the crumbs on top of the fish. Starting with the short side, roll each fillet and secure closed with toothpicks. Arrange fish in the baking dish and scatter capers in the spaces in the dish. Sprinkle any leftover crumbs over the fish and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Place baking dish on the bottom of the oven and bake until fish is just cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Excerpted from Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia Bastianich. Copyright 2011 by Lidia Bastianich. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.