Savoro me Stafides

Marinated White Fish with Currants and Rosemary

THE SWEET-AND-SOUR combination of vinegar and currants and the aroma of rosemary make this dish irresistible for a summer buffet dinner or lunch. This recipe, similar to the Spanish escabeche, comes from the islands of the Ionian Sea, where a vinegar marinade was the usual way to preserve cooked fish before refrigeration was available. Today, the reason to make this dish is its exquisite taste. Small whole fish are usually cooked this way, but fillets also work well.

This dish tastes best if the fish is left to marinate for 1 to 2 days. Serve with steamed potatoes and/or grilled or steamed vegetables drizzled with olive oil.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil and safflower oil for frying
  • 4 firm-fleshed white fish fillets, such as snapper, grouper or monkfish (about 2 pounds total), rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1–2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or ½–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • cup Zante currants
  • 4–5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3–4 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)

Method

Place the flour in a shallow bowl. In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of a combination of olive and safflower oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. Dredge the fish in the flour, shaking off the excess. Fry the fish in batches, turning once, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just cooked through. Sprinkle the fish with salt to taste and transfer to paper towels to drain.

Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Heat the ½ cup oil and sauté the onion and Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Stir in the currants, garlic and dried rosemary. When the currants start to swell, add the vinegars and bring to a boil. Add the fish and cook, turning once, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding black pepper to taste.

Transfer to a shallow dish and let stand, covered, for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving, and garnish with the rosemary sprigs, if desired.

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