I first made this classic Neapolitan dish back in 1989 at a restaurant I worked in called Friths in London’s Soho, which chef Carla Tomasi owned. I tend to make this dish with whole anchovies or baby mackerel or sardines, bat red mallet, gurnard, tarakihi and snapper fillets work well too. Use either six fillets from three large fish, or 12 smaller filets from six fish. Scale the fish bat keep the skin on and remove the bones from the larger fish. I serve it as a starter, on toasted sourdough and undressed watercress with the pickling vegetables on top. It keeps in the fridge for a week and is actually better the day after it’s made.
Pat fish dry with paper towels then dust with flour mixed with
Fry onions in olive oil, stirring them occasionally, until they begin to caramelise. Add herbs and currants and fry 30 seconds. Add sugar, vinegar and
Spread half the onion mixture in the bottom of a non-reactive casserole dish and lay fish pieces on top, trying not to overlap them too much. Spoon on remaining onions, then pour over liquid. Ideally the liquid will just about cover the fish. Leave to cool, then cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
© 2003 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.