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Corfiot fish prepared “in bianco”

Another classic Corfiot fish dish.

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 4 € pp)
  • salt
  • fresh school shark or other large fish (hake, grey mullet etc.)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • EV olive oil
  • 10 black olives
  • the juice of half lemon
  • black pepper

In Corfu, they cook fatty fish in two main ways, in bourdetto (red sauce, made with paprika and, often, tomato) and in bianco, which means with white sauce.

Bianco can be great, if the fish is fresh. G R E A T. The fish kind is not as important as its freshness. So, do not even think about using frozen fish, go to your fish seller and buy a fresh fish with not too many spines as hake, shark etc. If the fish has no head, don´t forget to buy one because we need its collagens for the sauce.

So, in a small casserole we put the fish head with about 500 ml water. We let it simmer for at least half an hour, or until a stock is created. Then we discard the head and we keep the stock. We can also simmer the head in vegetable stock, if we want our bianco to have some vegetal aromas, as well.

Meanwhile, we peel and cut the onions and the garlic cloves in slices and the potatoes in relatively small pieces.

In a large heavy-bottomed casserole we add some olive oil and when hot we gently fry the onions, adding just a few drops of stock, if the preparation becomes too dry. When they turn transparent we add the garlic and we continue for 5 minutes more. We add the potatoes and we “brown” them for 5 minutes.

We add the stock and some salt, we cover with a lid and we let the potatoes simmer till tender. We don´t stir with a spoon or fork, but we just swirl and shake the casserole horizontally, whenever we understand that the potatoes tend to stick to its bottom.

About 10 minutes before cooking ends we add the fish, cut in pieces and 5 minutes later the olives. Don’t buy already pitted olives. They are a disaster. Always buy them unpitted and remove the pits yourselves.

We check that the potatoes and the fish are cooked, we check the saltiness and we add the pepper and the lemon juice. We turn off the heat and cover with the lid.

We wait 5-10 minutes for the sauce to bind and we serve.


Published in FISH