Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Pan-fried haddock all'Alba

In This Issue
 Pan-fried haddock all'Alba Simple but delicious, this pan-fried fish fillet gains a lovely Northwestern Italian accent from browned butter and sage.
 Last Week's FoodLetter and Archives Links to previous articles.
 Let us hear from you! You're invited to talk back.
 Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.
Pan-fried haddock all'Alba

Returning today to a frequent theme, "It's a gift to be simple," an American Shaker hymn expressing a concept that Italian cooks (and many others) share, let's have a taste of a truly simple yet almost mind-blowingly delicious recipe for haddock or other white, mild and firm-fleshed fish.

An invention inspired by a recipe in the recently translated English version of the Italian Silver Spoon cookbook, it's a ridiculously simple pan-fry flavored with browned butter and fresh sage, a simple marriage of flavors that go together like Italy and sunshine. We discovered the joy of butter and sage over pasta in a little trattoria in Alba years ago, hence my affectionate christening of this haddock fry as "all'Alba" for its use of the same pronounced yet subtle flavors.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

12 to 16 ounces (350-500g) fresh haddock, perch or similar white fish
1/4 cup white flour
Black pepper
4 ounces butter
12 to 20 fresh sage leaves


1. Put the flour, salt and pepper on a large plate. Dredge each piece of fish in the seasoned flour, coating it lightly on all sides but knocking off any excess.

2. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. (I prefer a nonstick skillet, which helps ensure that the fish won't stick and also lets me get away with a little less butter, but don't cut back too far, as that addictive nutty browned-butter flavor is a part of the glory of this dish.) Put in the sage leaves, let them fry for a few seconds, and put in the fish pieces. Cook them on one side without moving them for 2 or 3 minutes, until the underside is crisp and brown; then turn carefully, using a large, thin spatula, and pan-fry on the other side for 2 or 3 minutes more or until done. Check seasoning and serve, garnished with lemon slices and the fried sage leaves.

WINE MATCH: Any dry white wine with medium to full body will work fine, with extra credit, in my mind, for an Italian wine match. We went to the other end of the Italian "boot," accompanying the dinner with a blind tasting of two excellent wines from Campania, the Feudi San Gregorio 2004 Falanghina and Fiano.

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about this recipe or food and cookery in general, you're welcome to drop by either of our interactive forums, where I've posted this article as a new topic, "Pan-fried haddock all'Alba."

If you have basic how-to questions, you might enjoy the teaching environment of the Food & Drink section in our online WineLovers Community,

If you're a serious "foodie" or interested in peer support as you move into more advanced culinary realms, check out the same topic in our FoodLovers Discussion Group, where you'll find today's article at

Finally, if you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at

Want a copy that's easy to use in the kitchen? You'll find a simple, plain-text version of this recipe, suitable for printing, online at

Last Week's FoodLetter and Archives

Last week's Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Greens and sausage soup (March 16, 2006)

Wine Advisor FoodLetter archive:

30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

Let us hear from you!

If you have suggestions or comments about The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter, or if you would like to suggest a topic for a coming edition and recipe, please drop me a note at I really enjoy hearing from you, and I try to give a personal reply to all mail if I possibly can.

Of course you also have a standing invitation to participate in our interactive online communities. To participate in these friendly online discussion groups, simply click to
for the FoodLovers Discussion Group, which is somewhat focused on more advanced food-and-drink discussions and culinary issues. For more fundamental how-to advice and questions, visit the Food & Drink folder in the WineLovers Community on Netscape,

SUBSCRIBE: RSS Feed (free)
 30 Second Wine Advisor, daily or weekly (free)
 Wine Advisor FoodLetter, Thursdays (free)
 Wine Advisor Premium Edition, alternate Tuesdays ($24/year)

For all past editions,
click here


For information, E-mail


This is The 30 Second Wine Advisor's weekly FoodLetter. To subscribe or unsubscribe, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

Thursday, March 23, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter

FoodLetter archives

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor