Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana)

Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes

Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana)

Luccio alla mantovana (Pike cooked in the Mantova way)
Whenever and wherever I made this dish, I feel at home, in Lombardy, the region I come from. When I was a boy, I was taught to hunt, fish and gather food. An afternoon spent in the countryside always meant coming home with something to cook. Frogs, snails, pikes and wild mushrooms were my favourites and still nowadays I occasionally put them on the table. Luccio alla mantovana means Pike (luccio) cooked in the Mantova way; Mantova being a beautiful town south east of Lombardy. There are similar recipes from the nearby region Veneto, especially from the province of Verona, where other ingredients are added, like capers and cinnamon for example, but I like the recipe in the Mantova style; it is simpler and the delicate taste of the pike meat is not overwhelmed by too many different flavours. The use of anchovies, to prepare the “salsa” (sauce), shows a Venetian influence (Mantova was part of the republic of Venice in the past); where anchovies were often added to enhance food flavour, especially when consuming freshwater fish.
I have used a 2.3 Kg (5 pounds 1 ounce) pike, but you can use a smaller one, however no less than 1 Kg (2 pounds 3 ounces).
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Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5
Calories 650 kcal

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Ingredients
 

Ingredients for the court bouillon (Metric & Imperial measurements):

  • 3 litres water (it can be less if your pike is smaller)
  • 24 grams Salt
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Celery stalk
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • A few parsley stalks
  • A glass of dry white wine
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 8-10 Whole peppercorns

Ingrediens for the "salsa" (Metric & Imperial measurements):

  • 15-20 grams (3/4 oz)  Anchovy paste (alternatively use 5 anchovy fillets)
  • 100 ml (4 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 ml (4 fl oz) Sunflower oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 30 ml (2 Tbs) Red wine vinegar
  • 15 grams (1/2 oz) Flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • Salt and ground black pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  • Scale the pike. It is much easier to scale the pike before cutting its belly. It will be a bit messy, but it is a necessary step.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • This is the pike gutted and completely cleaned of its scales.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • The inside should be thoroughly clean.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Now, we prepare the court bouillon. Roughly chop the onion, celery and carrot and gather everything together with peppercorns, bay leaves and the parsley stalks.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Take a long pan, one that later can accommodate the fish, fill it with the cold water and add all the ingredients for the court bouillon to the pan.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Add the wine.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Add the salt and then apply low heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Gently simmer for 30 minutes.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Meanwhile, if the fish is to big for the pan, cut its tail and head.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • The fish is ready to be immersed in the court bouillon.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • After the court bouillon has gently simmered for 30 minutes, add the fish to the pan. Bring the liquid back to simmer and then adjust the cooker flame so that the water is just trembling.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Cover with a lid and let it poach for about 25 minutes.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • After 25 minutes, put the cooker off and squeeze a lemon all over the fish and liquid.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Now, leave the fish to cool down for 10 minutes inside its own liquid.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Meanwhile, take the parsley leaves and the garlic.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Chop them, very finely.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Take a shallow frying pan. Add the olive and sunflower oils to the pan and heat the oils over medium/low heat.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Add the anchovy paste to the pan.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Stir, to help the anchovy paste to dissolve into the oil. At this stage the oil should not be too hot because we do not want to burn or fry the anchovy paste; we just need to dissolve it. It should really take less than one minute to do this.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Then, add the vinegar to the pan.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Quicky stir and temporary raise the heat to high, only for about 30-40 seconds. This will help to reduce the pungent flavour note of the vinegar.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Now, remove the pan from the heat, stir for few seconds and leave the oil to cool down for a minute.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Add the parsley and garlic mix to the pan.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Stir and adjust the seasoning with ground black pepper and a little pinch of salt. Set aside until ready to be used.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Remove the fish from the liquid.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • The top skin can be easily removed by gently scraping with a knife.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Now, take a large glass tray and flake the fish. The bigger the fish the easier it is to remove the bones while you are separating the meat into many flakes. Be sure you do a good job when removing the bones. 
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • After you have finished flaking the fish meat, spread the “salsa” all over the meat.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Job done!
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for at least 4-5 hours before the serving. 20 minutes before the serving, remove the fish from the fridge so that by the time you plate it, it is not too chilled.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • During this long waiting time, you can prepare polenta (check the “polenta” recipe in the specials section of the website). Take a big large pan, fill it with the required amount of water and add some salt to the pan.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Add the polenta flour.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Stir.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • keep stirring; you need to stir for 45 minutes.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • After 45 minutes the polenta is ready.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • I usually make lot of polenta, so that I can fill many different moulds. Most of the moulds will go in the freezer, for future consumption. For this specific recipe I have just used the wider and shallow tray in the top right. After a couple of hour in the fridge, the polenta will be compact, so overturn the tray and cut the polenta base into slices.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Grill the polenta slices.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • Plate the fish cold, accompanied by hot grilled polenta.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
  • A good, chilled dry white wine from the Lake Garda area will be perfect for this dish.
    Pike Mantova (Luccio alla mantovana) | Special Recipes
Enjoyed the recipe?Buy us a glass of wine!
Federico
Jeremy

Buon appetito! Thank you from Federico (recipe Maestro) and Jeremy (web Geek).

Nutrition

Calories: 650kcal
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Categorised as Specials

By Federico

Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.

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