I agree that most od human (or less human) activities follow the rule of 20% and 80%. This (always according to my opinion) is true also for what is called “Italian Cuisine”. Italian dishes are simple, which does not mean they are easy. Simple means that they are in most cases composed by a few ingredients: like to say that more is not always better. Saying this in a different way, I’d affirm that Italian recipes are done by 80% of “choice of ingredients” and 20% by technique. The choice of ingredients includes the recognizement of freshness, the origin of the food, the seasonality and also the technique: you have to use different cooking times and apply different methods according to the quality and variety of your ingredients. All this is at the base of both professional cooking and home cooking. No space for improvvisation: you are allowed to “improvize” only when you know the food you are dealing with. Which is not easy. Even: the more simple (the less ingredients) the less easy the dish. As first attempt to approach you guys, I make myself very “antipatica” ( a not translatable therm to mean “not nice”) proposing you a simple dish that you cannot do easily anywhere. So difficulty is just in the avaibily of ingredients, more than in the procedure of the recipe itself. I live part of the year in a small island of the Tuscan Arcipelago, Isola del Giglio, which i salso a natural park. So I am advantaged in the avaibility of these ingredients, which I go to take by myself in my wild excursions.
What is needed for this dish is: extra virgin olive oil, better if a light in flavour and colour like the olive oil made with Taggiasca olives in Liguria or olive oil from Lucca in Tuscany. Then a few spoons of milk, a little pich of salt; fresh Dover soles , sea urchins, fresh wild fennel leaves and flowers. The last three ingrediens are the most difficult: for the Dover soles there is here on the island a fish supplyer that comes every morning with the fresh cough fish from the opposite Monte Argentario (hardly soles are cough in the rocky bottom of the island); I go personally snorkling to pick the sea urchins (althoug someones needs to know exactly which is the period you are allowed to pick them and when their eggs are big and full: it is related with the moon); I go personally also to pick fresh fennel during trekking trips I love to do.
Open the sea urchins pointing the scissors into their mouth and going around in circle. Clean them from all the brown inside and rinse with sea water. Take off the eggs with a tea spoon and keep refrigerated. It is important the sea urchins are alive. Do this operation right bifore cooking and not too long in advance. Score the skin of the soles at the tail and pull it away on both sides. Cut the flesh along the spine and insert the knife along the bones, scraping carefully to obtain four fillets from each sole. Roll or twist the fillets following your fantasy. Pour a tin veil of extra virgin olive oil on the bottom of a skillet, preferebly a stainless steel with double bottom. Rinse the wild fennel and put a few leaves in the pan, togeter with a flower. Place the sole rolls; splash (or spry) one or two spoons of milk ( 1 spoon for each soles of 1 Lb). Sprinke with salt. Put the lid on and put on the stove at medium heat for 4 minutes. Take the pan off the stove but do not take away the lid. The fish would continue to cook gently for 2-3 more minutes. Open the pan and place the sea urchin eggs nicely upon the sole rolls. Close the lid and keep warm for 1 minute. Serve immediatele, decorating with fennel flower.
I understand this I have not put you in the best mood to stay in front of the stove, but, believe me: doing all this is easier than it seems and it also so, so fun. When you do something like that you understand how everything in the world is connected together: and how life can be more wild, more simple and more respectful of Nature and its gifts.