When you're the beloved chef-owner of an award-winning restaurant, people clamor for a cookbook.
It took Luigi Diotaiuti 17 years to produce his: a memoir-with-recipes of a life spent in joyous service to dishes from Italy, Sicily and Sardinia. Many have been featured at his Al Tiramisu in D.C.; some of those have remained on the menu since the place opened in 1996. The acknowledgments of thanks at the front of the book run much longer than most.
This salmon dish from the book couldn't be simpler or fresher-tasting. Chicken or vegetable broth can be used instead of fish or seafood stock, but honestly, you can still make this recipe in less than 40 minutes if you make your own stock. Serve with baby spinach, either lightly dressed in olive oil or sauteed.
Salmon in Orange Sauce (Salmone in Salsa d’Arancia)
To make your own fish stock, ask the fishmonger to give you the bones from 1 medium-size, white-fleshed fish. Combine in a medium saucepan with 3 or 4 cups of water, 6 or 8 whole black peppercorns, 1 small rib of celery and 1/4 of an onion. Bring barely to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Strain into a container with a tight-fitting lid. The cooled stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen in small portions for up to 3 months.
Adapted from “The Al Tiramisu Restaurant Cookbook: An Elevated Approach to Authentic Italian Cuisine,” by Luigi Diotaiuti (self-published, 2013).
4 skin-on, center-cut salmon fillets (6 to 7 ounces each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
4 navel or blood oranges, or a combination
½ cup fish stock or seafood stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ cup water
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees F.
Rub the fillets lightly with the oil, then season lightly with salt and pepper, if desired. Arrange on the baking sheet, spaced at least an inch apart. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets; they should be barely opaque but not dry.
Use a serrated knife to slice off the top and bottom of the fruit. Place the oranges on a cutting board and slice off their peels and pith, leaving as much of the fruit intact as possible. Cut between the membranes to separate the sections. Reserve at least 16 of the neatest ones for serving; squeeze the juice of the rest, and the membranes of each orange, through the strainer and into the saucepan.
Add the fish stock to the saucepan, then place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whisk the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the saucepan; cook for 1 minute or until a thickened sauce forms. Season lightly with salt. Remove from the heat; add the reserved orange sections and stir to coat and warm them through.
Place a fillet at the center of each plate, discarding the skin if desired. Spoon equal amounts of the sauce and orange sections over each one. Serve right away.
Per serving: 320 calories, 35 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 10 g sugar