The rich culinary landscape of the Amalfi Coast draws upon both the colours and flavours of the sea and land. Local, seasonal and sustainable is the motto here. Fresh fish, plump olives, sun-ripened tomatoes, tangy sfusato lemons, fragrant herbs – the bountiful region makes it one of Italy’s epicurean champions.
The sea-to-plate movement is particularly emblematic of the Sorrentine peninsula, whose surrounding waters are brimming with the likes of shrimp, pezzogne, bream, sea urchins, octopus, blue fish, molluscs and redfish – the humble star of this dish.
This recipe, selected by our executive chef, Leopoldo Elefante, is ideal for those keen to dine alla campagna (Campania-style). “In season between April and October, our redfish comes from the Tyrrhenian Sea, where it is caught on the rocks,” Leopoldo says. “With a distinctive and delicate taste, the fish pairs well with leafy vegetables.”
For a light summery dish, pair the fish with torzelle cauliflower from Mount Vesuvius and serve in a puddle of gazpacho. “We rework this traditionally Andalusian sauce with an Italian spin by using the Sorrentine tomato known as cuore di bue (‘oxheart’, due to its appearance), which is rounder and juicier than its ruby-red siblings,” Leopoldo explains. “Throw in basil, celery and red onion from Tropea, along with oven-baked bread croutons from the Amalfi Coast – and you have an authentic flavour of the region.”
Seared redfish with tomato gazpacho and torzelle cauliflower
600g red tomatoes
200g black olives
500g torzelle from Vesuvius (local cauliflower)
200cl extra virgin olive oil
Small handful of bread croutons
1 small bunch of basil
1 celery heart
3 garlic cloves
150gr raspberry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice tomatoes and celery, add chopped garlic cloves and basil leaves, and marinate in raspberry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt in the fridge for up to 5-6 hours.
Next, pit the olives and bake at 120°C for two hours to dry them.
Scale, clean and fillet the redfish, portioning into four equal parts.
Whisk the marinated tomatoes until smooth to create the gazpacho – if needed, strain through a small colander.
Finely slice the olives with a knife, until reaches a powdery texture.
Wash the torzelle cauliflower, poach for 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper and lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Sear the fish from the skin down in a hot non-stick pan until a lightly toasted colour with crisp skin, and finish in medium oven (145°C) for 8 minutes.
To serve the dish – preferably using a soup plate – pour the tomato gazpacho across the base, before lightly scattering with the torzelle cauliflower and bread croutons.
Place the fish, skin up, in the centre of the dish. Garnish with capers and a sprig of herbs, and lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Finally, sprinkle the olive powder across the dish for decoration.
About the chef
Born and raised in foodie mecca Campania, Leopoldo graduated with a Culinary Arts and Culinary Services degree from the Hotel Management School in Naples in 2002. From Rome to the Amalfi Coast, Leopoldo cut his teeth at some of Italy’s most notable restaurants, including three-Michelin-starred Reale in Castel Di Sangro, where he worked under the guidance of Niko Romito, as well as two Michelin-starred Quattro Passi and Oliver Glowing.
Leopoldo attributes his boundary-pushing cuisine to mentor Gualtiero Marchesi, the first Italian chef to be awarded three Michelin stars and who is recognised for his iconic saffron rice with edible gold leaves. Today, Leopoldo explores the fresh vegetation, colours and scents of the great outdoors in his hometown of Campania to create gastronomic masterpieces. In 2017, he joined Casa Angelina as executive chef for Un Piano Nel Cielo, where he draws upon seasonal ingredients from the best local suppliers to create playfully presented dishes that give a nod to the Mediterranean coast.