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Venetian Marinated Fish

Saor alla Venezia


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.





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