Rachel Roddy’s recipe for linguine with white fish and citrus juice | food

Driving, jogging, dancing, convincing … Starting from cold is rarely a good idea. Except in some cooking, and especially olive oil in a pan. And especially for someone like me, who for years often began cooking by plonking a frying pan on a flame, pouring in olive oil, adding chopped garlic or soffitto, then marveling as the little bits seized like cotton in a flame and turned into bitter crisps. Even when I tried to be cautious, lowering the flame and my eyes, there was still a good chance of burned edges. And it always felt like a race.

The solution arrived like an airdrop; two words, from the cook and teacher Fabrizia Lanza. Start cold. That is, put the oil, garlic, chilli and zest in the pan away from the heat, away from the stove, on the other side of the room, if need be. Because, of course, it isn’t really cold, but room and hand temperature – ideal for getting things started, a pre-warm-up warm-up, if you like. Only when all the elements are ready, and you have put a pan of water on for the pasta, does the pan go on a low flame. In the case of today’s recipe for linguine with white fish and citrus, a really low flame. The lowest of the low, so the volatile oils and scents in a clove of garlic (peeled and crushed gently with the flat of a knife), a small dried red chilli or pinch of dried red chilli flakes and the freshly grated zest of an unwaxed lemon and an orange can infuse six tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and the room.

And this is the heart of the recipe done; all that’s left is to chop the parsley and white fish, cook the pasta and bring it all together.

But which white fish? A good and a tricky question. And it is good that it is a tricky question (or what Hattie Ellis called “chewy questions” in her brilliant book What To Eat), because tricky questions are the way to answers – from shops, supermarkets, fishmongers and online providers, we hope . The Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide, which offers sustainability ratings on 130 species, is a good place to prepare before you go shopping. Ratings are reviewed, so consult regularly. At the time of writing, Arctic char, wild-caught Alaskan pollock, wild-caught Atlantic cod and hake are all rated green, meaning they are good choices. They are all also suitable for this recipe, in which the fish is chopped small enough to cook in the heat of the scented oil, pasta and the pan, with the help of added pasta cooking water.

So, after a slow, cold start, it is a hot, fast finish – and a swish, which brings everything together. Serve immediately. This recipe is inspired by a Sicilian-owned trattoria in Rome called Da Salvo, which has a glass panel allowing you to see into the kitchen, so as you eat your fried anchovies, you can watch Salvo in his chef’s toque jolting the pasta pan in a tidal wave movement. For many years I thought this was reserved for chefs in restaurants, until I got myself a suitable pan, large and with high sides, and had a go, which is almost always a good idea.

Linguine with white fish and citrus

Prep 10 minutes
cooking 10 minutes
serves 4

6 tbsp olive oil
1 unwaxed orange
1 unwaxed lemon
juiced and zested
garlic clovepeeled and crushed gently with the flat of a knife
1 small dried red chilli
crumbled, or a pinch of dried red chilli flakes
salt and black pepper
g linguine
g white fishcut into 2cm cubes
1 heaped tbsp flat-leaf parsleyfinely chopped

Bring a large pan of water to boil for the pasta.

Put the oil in a large, deep frying pan, away from the heat. Using the fine side of a box grater or microplane, grate the zest from the orange and lemon directly into the oil. Add the garlic and chilli. Put the pan on the lowest flame you can – you want the flavors to infuse the oil very slowly.

Meanwhile, add salt to the boiling water, stir, add the pasta and set the timer for two minutes less than the recommended cooking time.

When the timer rings, lift out a cupful of pasta cooking water and set aside, then, using tongs, lift out the pasta on to the oil.

Working fast, raise the heat and swish and stir the pasta for 30 seconds. Add the fish, lemon juice, parsley and some of the pasta cooking water, then stir and swish vigorously for another minute, with the aim of cooking the fish and creating a creamy sauce as the citrus oil meets the lemon meets the starchy pasta cooking water . Serve immediately.

⁃ The Guardian aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. Check ratings in your region: UK; Australia; US.

Leave a Comment