Tips & Recipes
A culinary Giro d'Italia: Calabrian sea bass
Learn how to make the Mediterranean fish like the locals
The Giro d’Italia has arrived on the Italian mainland.
After a long run up the Calabrian coast from Palmi for a sprint finish under the ruins of a Norman castle in the beach town of Scalea, the racers will attack one of the most difficult stages of the Giro thus far. Stage 7 takes the race from the sparkling old town of Diamante, by the Tyrrhenian sea, to Potenza, deep in the southern Apennines. On their way, the riders will have to navigate narrow roads that twist left, right, up, down all day. There are four categorised climbs on the route: the Passo Colla, Monte Sirino, Mont Grande di Viggiano, and La Selletta. Only the strongest riders will be able to contest the finale. After rocketing through the medieval streets of Potenza, those left in contention will sprint for the day’s honours up a 13% slope.
It’s our team chef Owen Blandy’s job to make sure that our riders have the nutrients they need to start each stage of the Giro at full power. The night before stage 7, he served them sea bass, which were given to him by the chef of the team’s hotel in Reggio Calabria, the Grand Excelsior. Fish is a great source of protein and healthy fats. Served with roasted vegetables and potatoes, it provides our rider’ with the nourishment they need to restore their strength. The riders’ fish came straight from the Tyrrhenian sea, but if you buy yours fresh and prepare them with the best ingredients, you can bring Calabrian flavour to your table too. After a long chat about the Giro and Italian football, the chef of the Grand Excelsior Hotel gave Owen his recipe.
"It is quite a simple dish, as most Italian dishes are," Owen says. "Make sure you get the best, freshest produce you can and just treat it with respect."
Sea bass (or other Mediterranean white fish)
Chop the Zucchini, aubergine, and peppers. Lay them on a baking try and douse with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then roast these vegetables in a 170°C oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice your tomatoes, capers, and olives and mix them in a bowl.
Lay the sea bass over the tray of roasted vegetables. Cover the fish with your tomato mixture.
Bake in a 170°C oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano.