Puppy Drum Caruso

This is a variation on the way they like to cook drumfish at Andrea’s, especially this time of year. Eggplant, tomatoes, and fish together make a lovely combination.

  • 4 puppy drum (or trout or red snapper) fillets, 8-10 oz. each
  • Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco
  • Coating:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/3 medium eggplant, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup juice from tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fish stock
  • 6 chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 sprig chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pinch white pepper

1. Wash the fish under cold water and pat dry. Mix the marinade ingredients and soak the fish in it for a minute on each side.

2. Dust the fish with the combined coating ingredients.

3. Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Put two fish fillets into the pan and saute three to five minutes per side, until the exterior of the fish is crusty. Remove the fish and keep warm.

4. Pour off the oil, but don’t clean the pan. Add and heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Saute crushed red pepper and garlic until fragrant.

5. Add the eggplant and saute until medium-dark brown on the outside–about five minutes over medium heat. Remove and drain on paper towels.

6. To the olive oil remaining in the pan, add the tomatoes, juice and fish stock. Bring to a boil, then add basil and oregano. Reduce heat and simmer the sauce until reduced by half–about five minutes.

7. Stir the eggplant into the sauce, then remove from heat. Divide sauce among four plates, and place a puppy drum fillet atop each.

Serves four.

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