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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ESCORPERA WITH 15TH C RECIPE FOR SCORPION FISH CASSEROLE


Scorpion Fish Wings Spread
Photo from:divemasterking2000
escórpora, escorpena, escorfeno, escorpina, cabracho, rascacio, L. Scorpaena scorfa (Cast cabracho), Eng large scaled scorpion fish (Mediterranean), S. atlantica (Cast escórpora), Eng scorpion fish (Atlantic) or L. porcus (Cast rascacio), Eng small scaled scorpionfish. The long scaled scorpion fish has up to 45 scales on its lateral line. It can be anywhere from bright red to reddish brown in color. It has a big head. It has venom spinal glands making it very difficult and dangerous to handle.

In the 15th C they were known only in the Mediterranean, living around rocks or at the bottom over sand or mud. With the increase in earth temperatures today they may migrate as far north as Cornwall, England.

The identification of this fish has caused much debate. Pérez claims it was indefinable while Carroll-Mann concludes it is the red scorpion fish. Authors do not agree on the species of this fish. As the red scorpions are telescopic in size they are caught only by mistake in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, it hardly seems likely that it would be mentioned as food.

All three species are similar in appearance. Large-scaled scorpion fish have the tastiest meat, but the stock made with them is even better. Soups produced with the meat of this fish, especially in fishermen’s ports, are famous for their flavour and quality. Puddings and pies also are made with them.  The fish should be boiled. Great care must be taken when cleaning it as it is very bony. Further, although the fish is dead, it is still poisonous until boiled. If one is pricked by it, it could be fatal.

The family name of this fish comes from the Greek “skorpis”, indicating that their poison is as toxic as that of the scorpions of the desert. The spikes on the tail fin are connected to poisonous glands. A sting from these fish causes increasingly excruciating pain around the wound, somewhat like a wasp sting but much worse. During the first hour it increases. The victim suffers nausea, vomiting, fever, vertigo, cold clammy sweating and insomnia. After about an hour, the pain somewhat subsides. The next day the wound becomes insensible, black, tense, thick, hard and gangrenous. Today these stings are treated immediately with antibiotics, in the Middle Ages death was frequent.

A Pity Sea Bass had to be Used
But No one was Poisoned!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
The bodies of the three types of these rockfish are thick and compressed. The heads have spikes and prickles. The eyes are large. Their mouths are oblique, with slender teeth. The colors range from brownish-black to red, orange or yellow, which camouflage them perfectly among the rocks and algae when sedentary or swimming. All eat twice their size in weight daily. The large-scaled scorpion is about 50 cm long, the short-scale 30 cm and the small red scorpion fish about 20 cm. long. The small-scaled and the large-scaled scorpion inhabit the Mediterranean and the Atlantic from England to Senegal. Today, small-scaled scorpions also live in a part of the Black Sea [Corbera. 1996: 128-132; ES: Carroll-Mann. Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:ftn 141; ES: Zammit]

SCORPION FISH CASSEROLE ADAPTED FROM NOLA’S lxiiii-1 ESCORFENO EN CAZUELA

Ingredients

1 c chestnuts
¼ c almonds peeled and fried
3-4 lbs large scale scorpion fish[1]
4 c fresh parsley
4 c mix herbs (basil, oregano and celery leaves were used)
¼ c chopped onion
1 garlic clove mashed
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
¼ c olive oil

Simpler than Making a Salad!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Covering:
¼ c raisins with the chestnuts and almonds
juice from1lemon

Preparation

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400ºF/200ºC

Make slits like a cross in each chestnut. Roast them in the oven for about ½ hour until the skins open and the insides are tender. Remove from oven. Let cool long enough to skin. Coarsely chop leaving 2 whole chestnuts for garnish.

Peel, fry the almonds and coarsely chop except for a half dozen almonds set aside for garnish.
Nola states that this fish is not good except in casserole or boiled. To roast it, clean and wash it. If thick or large, cut it into pieces.
a Dainty Good Friday Dish for Your King!
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Remove stems from herbs. Put the leaves in a food processor and chop them. Mix them with the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and the olive oil. Smear the bottom of a casserole with half the olive oil. Put the herb mixture in the casserole like a bed. Add the fish. Pour the remaining olive oil over it. Roast uncovered for ½ hr hour until almost done. Cover the fish with almonds, chestnuts and raisins. Sprinkle with juice from one lemon. Return to oven for 5 or 10 minutes until fish is tender.





[1] Sea bass was used, as scorpion fish was not available at this time.

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