Fresh fish, garlic and herbs make for a great Chilean meal called Pesce Aqua Pazza
Being a native of Chile in South America, I was brought up in a very close knit family where a larger part of the holidays would be spent having fun with friends and family while exploring the Atacama Desert or the Ski Portillo Chile.
Visiting my grandmother over the holidays intrigued and inspired me to take up cooking professionally. To this day, most of my recipes and dishes have been inspired by the magic of my grandmother’s cooking. Due to the variations in the land of Chile, the food culture was a rich assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables and included seafood.
Early morning trips with my grandmother to the market involved picking out fresh vegetables and fish. It’s from her that I learned to create and to identify and slice the perfect fish fillet. On coming back from the market, we would put the pasta to boil and pluck out fresh herbs, garlic and tomatoes that were grown in the backyard.
There are two dishes that take me back to my childhood days. One of them is the Pesce Aqua Pazza. Literally translated, Pesce Aqua Pazza means “fish poached in crazy water”. Making the dish involves cooking perfectly filleted white fish in a base of garlic and oil along with the freshest herb seasonings. The other dish that I loved was an Italian classic- Spaghetti Alle Vongole. This is an Italian staple dish of spaghetti made with the freshest servings of clams.
Every year at family reunions, I always recreated these dishes from my Grandma’s recipes and it just makes the experience a lot more fun as this is the definition of comfort food for me. Of course, it’s also on my restaurant menu in Mumbai.
Chef Cristian Cabrera is the Italian specialty chef at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in Powai.