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Sweet and Sour Slip Soles
Sweet and Sour Slip Soles
Italian
Starter
Over 2 hours
Fish
Easy
Serves
4

Polpo founder Russell Norman's shares his take on classic Venetian dish sarde in saor, using slip soles instead of the traditional sardines in this case: "As a seafaring nation, 13th-century Venice had to devise ways of feeding its sailors often several days or weeks after they had set sail. The technique of preserving lightly fried sardines in vinegar with the addition of sautéed onion and dried fruit and nuts is a wonderful example of necessity as the mother of invention. In one neat package, most of the essential food groups are covered, including, crucially for sailors, onions: high in vitamin C and perfect for keeping scurvy at bay. The dish is extremely tasty and it is still made exactly the same way today. Most fish can be prepared in this style, from sardines to mackerel, prawns to the slip soles here. The dish tastes better after a few days and is always eaten at room temperature."

This recipe was taken from Venice by Russell Norman, published by Fig Tree.

Recipe courtesy of
Ingredients
  • 8 small slip sole fillets, skinned
  • 200g ‘00’ flour
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • 4 large white onions, sliced
  • 1 small handful of raisins
  • 1 small handful of pine nuts 
  • 50g  caster sugar
  • 1 glass of white wine vinegar
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • freshly ground black pepper
Method
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Method
  1. Make sure the slip soles are cleaned and dried, dredge them in flour, then lay them in a very large frying pan in which you have heated 2cm of olive oil over a high flame.
  2. Fry for 2 minutes or so, turning them once or twice, until they are nicely golden brown. Rest the fried soles on kitchen paper and sprinkle generously with salt while they are hot.
  3. Using the same pan, turn the heat down to low to medium, add a splash more olive oil if necessary, and gently sauté the onions for 15 minutes, until translucent and soft but without browning them at all.
  4. Add the raisins, pine nuts and sugar and stir a few times. Now pour in the vinegar and the white wine, and turn the heat up to allow the mixture to bubble for a few minutes.
  5. When the onions look glossy and yield when pressed with a wooden spoon, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
  6. Lay 4 of the soles in the bottom of a large, pretty serving dish (preferably one for which you have a lid). Pour over just under half the onion mixture, to cover the fish. Now lay the last 4 soles on top and finish by pouring over and layering the remaining onion mix so that the fish are fully covered.
  7. Add a twist of black pepper, put the lid on, and leave in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
  8. Make sure you remove the dish from the fridge half an hour before you are ready to serve. Traditionally eaten with a slice of grilled polenta.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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