Carp with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

Sazan en Saltsa

While the Italians use pine nuts and raisins for an agrodolce, or sweet-and-sour sauce, the Greeks use dried currants and walnuts, along with red wine and vinegar, for this Passover specialty from Salonika.


  • 1 whole carp, about 6 pounds, cleaned, or
  • 6 fish fillets such as cod, snapper, halibut, or sea bass, about 6 ounces each
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper


If using a whole fish, clean and fillet the fish, or have your fishmonger do it for you. Divide each fillet into 3 equal pieces. Place the fillets on a platter and sprinkle with salt. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and pour evenly over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 to 3 hours.

Warm 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish and sauté, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Discard the oil in the pan and wipe the pan clean.

Return the pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, currants, and walnuts and simmer until a rich sauce forms, about 10 minutes.

Return the fish to the pan and simmer it in the sauce over low heat, basting with the sauce a few times, until the fish tests done when the point of a knife is inserted into the thickest part, about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the fish to a platter, spoon the sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the parsley and pepper. Serve at once.