La Notte di Animelle: Fish Face Protolasagna

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In a historical cooking class that Chiara and I take together, we learned that early lasagnas were made with various leftovers, including little bits of innards and fish, creamy non-tomato sauces, and something more like a tortilla than a noodle. I’ve riffed on that idea here. We had this with the Acacia chardonnay.

Ingredients:

  • 1 celeriac root
  • 4 medium to large fish heads (I got one salmon and 3 snapper
  • salt, pepper
  • minced garlic
  • 1 cup cream

Preparation

In a very large pot, cover the fish heads with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat flakes off easily. Allow to cool and remove the bones, gristle, and eyes. Put fish back into broth and continue to cook, adding seasonings to your taste. Meanwhile, peel the celeriac (really get all the outside off) and use a mandoline to slice thin slices, as wide and as thin as you can. 30 minutes before serving the dish, add the cream to the pot, stir once thoroughly, put all the slices of celeriac just barely in the top of the sauce, cover and turn down the heat. I served mine past the 30 minute mark and regretted it, because it actually had better texture when I tested it before the meal than when it was served – if you take it out at the sweet spot, the celeriac really tastes like a noodle! But although it fell apart a little, no one left any on their plates. This technique would work well for any other fish scraps you wind up with.

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