Baked Scrod with Chunky Tomatoes and Capers

Jim and Paul Cannillo of Cannillo's Italian Food Importers

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Cannillo’s Italian Food Importers, who are celebrating their 75th Anniversary in business. Cousins Paul and Jim Cannillo are 3rd generation Cannillo’s  that have been importing La Fede Italian food products since 1936. From their warehouse in Passaic, New Jersey they distribute their fine products throughout the Tri-State area. Anywhere I went in their warehouse I ran into another family member, so this is truly a family run business.

If you have not tried or used San Marzano tomatoes in your recipes I suggest you start with La Fede brand and start with the best. The quality is unquestionable and comes officially certified from the Italian Government that the tomatoes in these cans are not only San Marzano tomatoes, but they are grown in the San Marzano region of Italy. Anyone can grow a San Marzano tomato. Heck, you can grow it right in your back yard. But it’s not just the type of tomato that makes San Marzano special, it’s where they are grown.

San Marzano tomatoes come from a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Compared to the Roma tomatoes, SanMarzano tomatoes are thinner and pointier in shape. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is much stronger, more sweet and less acidic.  Canned San Marzanos, when grown in the  Valle del Sarno(valley of the Sarno) in Italy in compliance with Italian law, can be classified as Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino and have the”DOP” emblem on the label. Without that label and emblem they are not true San Marzano tomatoes.

Other specialty items carried by Cannillo’s in addition to their San Marzano tomatoes are First Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oils, 4 leaf aged Balsamic Vinegars, Genuine Pecorino Romano, Prosciutto D’Parma, La Fede Vodka Sauce, Aurricchio Italian Provolone, Locatelli Romano, San Danielle Dry Sausages, and San Danielle Homemade Soppresata’s . For a full listing of all their products and how you can get them log on to their web site at: http://www.buylafede.com/  Or, if you are near their Passaic, New Jersey warehouse stop in to their retail outlet store and buy up some bargains. Tell Paul or Jim that Peter sent you. You will be well taken care of.

They are located at 367-375 Harrison Street, Passaic, New Jersey 07055. You can phone them at 973-778-5580.

This is a dish my mother used to make that is great for one of those quick dinners you can make when you get home from work late. It takes no time to put  together and cooks in about 20-25 minutes.

My mother would prepare all sorts of fish this way when my brother-in-law Arthur was dating my sister. Friday nights were fish nights in the Bocchieri household, and I loved it.

Baked Scrod with Chunky Tomatoes & Capers

  • 1 or 2 pollock or scrod/cod  fillets
  • 1 1/2 cups of San Marzano tomatoes (La Fede brand if you can get them), roughly chopped.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, rinsed
  • 2 leaves fresh basil, torn
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian Flavored bread crumbs
  • 1-2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan add the olive oil and cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, basil, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Remove from the heat.

Place pollock/scrod/cod fillet in a Pyrex roasting pan, if you have one. Lightly salt the fish and add freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the chunky tomato sauce over both fillets.  Add the capers and lightly sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Add the white wine around the fish.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until fish is opaque. Don’t over cook the fish or it will dry out.

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About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. When Peter is not out selling, he is relaxing at his Rockland County home and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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10 Responses to Baked Scrod with Chunky Tomatoes and Capers

  1. marianna ricci-wilson says:

    i’m going to look for the “la fede” brand . i don’t remember seeing it in the local stores. I may find it at whole foods. meanwhile, i want to try this fish dish but i’ll have to use ordinary canned tomatoes. this looks to be easy, fast & healthful. my mother used to make a similar [but not exact] dish for friday & for lent. the resulting sauce/juice was served over rice & of course we had a big italian salad to go w/ it…& always w/ italian bread for “sopping”! growing up, we had lots of fish for our meals…we lived in a coastal city & the fresh fish was plentiful & inexpensive. thanks again for a sure “winner”! marianna [p.s. one of the main reasons that i love all of your recipes is b/c they are down to earth, do-able, simple, unassuming & all of the ingredients are readily available. your recipes & the presentation of them is always easy to understand & NOT pretentious, pompous nor “arty”.]

  2. Sandra says:

    You can find the lafede tomatoes at your local ShopRite,that’s where I purchase them, they are great

  3. Jim Cannillo says:

    Thanks Peter for such a great article on us. Come on shoppers keep supporting La Fede! We’re a small company who needs and values each consumer we have. If ever an issue or question contact me directly at jim@lafede.com

    Jim Cannillo
    Partner, La Fede Italian Foods

  4. Dick says:

    Just made this dish tonight for my wife and I, it was fantastic. We are hosting a dinner on Saturday night and you guessed it I am serving this as our main.
    Thanks

  5. Rosemary Morsani says:

    I love all your recipes. You cook like me, simple and delicious. Thank you

  6. Davide says:

    will definitely try this but minus the sugar. substituting tiny pinch of baking soda does the trick, but without altering the subtle flavors of this dish.

    • Davide, the trick to a good tomato sauce is striking the balance between the acidity and sweetness of the sauce. Too much of either is not good. Most times I don’t find the need to add a little sugar if the sauce is not too acidic. I find some brands more acidic that others. Adding baking soda decreases the acidity but sometimes also makes the sauce loose its flavor if you add too much. Again it’s a balance. Sometimes adding some butter at the end is all that is needed to mellow the sauce. It all comes down to a matter of taste.

  7. Greg says:

    I tried lefede tomatoes with a puttanesca dish . They are second to home grow and home made. Excellent product

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