|In this very hot season, when the maximum closeness of Sirio
to the earth leads men (particularly women, according to Greeks) being taken
of passions to desire (and make) uncommon things, even the more risque and
trasgressive, well in this situation of trasgressions please allow me a
licence: Alessi, "the old", the dreamer, impenitent (and pleasure-loving)
poet of the stoves; I would like to tell you a story of cooking.
It can be defined an exciting adventure, absolutely out of standard. A wild
experience, we can say also bloody: in any case you will not forget it.
This story brings us back to the "holy meal" of the ancient primordial
world. This story begins in the enchanted sea, the mythical Tirreno sea
of the sirens; a bare and indented small island of the Tuscany archipelago,
a small ravine of immaculate coast. The water is limpid, the small beach
is clean and desert, still natural. There are some dry trunks, brought by
the enraged waves, they are partly dipped in sand or embedded in the rocks,
reduced to a skeleton, with their contorted branches desolately bare.
There are high and eroded rocks (like precipices) to define the sides and
bushes, positioned at the feet of the steep slope, luxuriant.
A salty wind is blowing, it seems it wants to permeate you, while there
is a patient fisherman sitting with his cane on the rocks in front of the
wide, calm and primordial sea. There such a calm in the surroundings, the
"world" is far away, but the hunger is impending over the fisherman!
Be careful: here it is, it is ery big! Now it is aken: it is a beautiful
dentex and will weights more than a kg. Prepare a fire, with the dry wood
on the beach and let it burn, while the wriggling quarry, gasping outside
from the water and looking at the fire, is desperately dying.
After a while the fire decreases its intensity, like the vitality of the
fish with its body curved. Fatally, epical, a tragedy consumes on the pleasant
beach in front of the nature. Some traes remain: alive and burning embers
and ductile dead flesh.
Now clutch the stiff fish with the greedy and impious hand, open its belly
and take out the entrails; pull away the bloody branchiae and cut off the
red flippers. Then, starting from the tail, using a knife, scrape the tenacious
and silver scales from the back of the fish and deeply engrave, with horrible
cross cuts, the delicate flesh of its beautiful sides.
It is atrocious, we know, all this ceremony and macabre and sad is the ritual,
but the status of human beings requires it, and it is not in our power to
ciò che fece la natura (uccelli, pesci, bestie,
arbori, erbe e fiori) perisce per mantener la nosra misera vita, anto è
violento e difficile il poterla sostenere
" (G.M. Bonardo, cit.
da Camporesi, 1980)
Finally, with care, bring it for the last time to its native sea and
dip it once again in the waves to wash it for the last time, then leave
it to become impregnated with the salty water. Now to the fire! To the
fire, bring it so dripping of water: lay it over the grill and do not
season it. Stir up the fire and lay the fish over it for 10-12 minutes
of cheerful grilling, bathing it several times only with the sea water.
Now you have to turn it without wasting the crunchy skin; with care scrape
it very well and then turn it over the other side and let it cook for
10-12 minutes bathing as previously described.
Now the fish is nearly cooked: the devourer fire, replete of exuded quintessence
is quite dozed off; do not wake it up. The fish over the grill, now (5-6
minutes for each side) has to simmer without further seasoning.
Also these last minutes have passed, you can admire your fish! It has
become a precious jewel: in fact its body is gilded and the eye
is like the satin silver of a pearl!