Venetian Marinated FishClick to Play

Venetian Marinated Fish

Saor alla Venezia

Mary Ann Esposito


During a recent stay in Venice I had an appointment to interview Venetian cooking teacher Fulvia Sesani. One regal red rose was waiting for me in my hotel room. With a note that said, "Benvenuta a Venezia", or "Welcome to Venice".

Trying to find the Palazzo Morosini, where Fulvia lived and conducted cooking classes, was like wandering through a maze. Finally, arriving at the grand palace of her ancestors, I met Fulvia and was ushered into a splendid living room, where she and I talked about traditional Venetian cooking.

One classic recipe called Saor is a cooked then marinated fish dish. Fresh sardines are used in Venice, but flounder or sole works well, too. This is Fulvia's recipe for saor, which must be prepared a day in advance of serving. I particularly enjoy it on a hot summer day.


2 pounds sole or flounder fillets
Flour, for dredging
1/2 cup Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups thinly sliced white onions
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons chopped candied citron


Dredge the fish pieces in the flour, shake off the excess, and place on a plate.

In a skillet, heat the oil, then fry the fish on both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the fish to a serving dish.

In the same oil (add more if necessary), slowly brown the onions about 5 to 7 minutes, until almost caramelized or deep brown in color. Add the vinegar, pine nuts, raisins, and citron. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then pour the mixture over the fish. Cover the fish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day before serving. To serve, bring to dish to room temperature.

This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993.

item recipe is featured in Episode 604 of Season 6.

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