Sicilian sweet and sour spatula

Sicilian sweet and sour spatula

Finally I can keep a promise made to many Sicilian friends and friends who follow me: the recipe of the fish spatula in sweet and sour Sicilian. A second of traditional fish from Messina and province, prepared with one of the most representative local fish. As you will know if you have read my article on the fish spatula and 8 recipes to try, the spatula (or flag fish or saber fish), it's a skinny blue fish, with a few bones, delicate taste. Among the most popular recipes with this fish are definitely thespatula fish chops, but the sweet and sour spatula is no less. Is’ hard to find this dish in restaurants, it is sometimes included in the roundup of fish appetizers for which Sicily is rightly famous.

The recipe for the sicilian sweet and sour spatula fish is simple and the principle is that of sweet and sour mackerel with onion or the tuna with sweet and sour onions. The fish is seasoned with stewed onions with oil, vinegar and sugar and serves cold, how perfectly the tastes have blended. In this case, spatula fillets, Fleshy, Sodi, delicate and smooth-free, they are lightly floured and then fried. Onions are stewed with pine nuts and raisins ('unmissable Sicilian pairing) and scented with fresh mint.

The bittersweet is one of the most traditional dishes of Sicily, with a clear Arabic origin and is also found in the Eggplant caponata, perhaps one of the most characteristic and tasty Sicilian recipes. As for the spatula, remember to show it off from the fishmonger, because it's a complex process if you don't know it well and don't throw the bones and the head. Use them to prepare a delicious fish sauce spatula for spaghetti or linguine. If you can't find the spatula fish or flag fish, you can prepare anchovies in the same way, sardines, mackerel. The choice is yours. Have a good day!


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  • 800 grams of spatula fish, already filleted
  • flour 00, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil for frying, to taste
  • 1 kilogram of red onions
  • 60 ml red wine vinegar (or even more if you love strong tastes)
  • 2 teaspoons shaving sugar
  • little Virgin olive oil
  • fresh mint, to taste
  • a handful of Corinthian pine nuts and raisins


Sicilian sweet and sour spatula

The sweet and sour Sicilian spatula is very simple to prepare and I suggest you do it a few hours in advance, so that the flavors blend at their best.

Pass the spatula fish from both sides in the flour to which you will have added a pinch of salt. Fry the fish fillets in extra virgin olive oil, over high heat and until golden brown. Put them on paper towels.

For sweet and sour onions, peel onions, cut them in half and then into not too thin slices. Put in a large pan a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and half a glass of water. Add the onions to cold and a little’ of salt. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and still quite consistent. While the onions cook, soak the raisins in hot water and toast the pine nuts in a frying pan. Mix the vinegar with the sugar in a glass, pour it on the onions and let it fade a few minutes. Turn off the heat and add the pine nuts, raisins and a few fresh mint leaves.

Arrange the spatula on the serving plate, pour over the onions in bittersweet still warm and let cool. When the sicilian sweet and sour spatula will be at room temperature, cover with plastic wrap to touch food and refrigerate. Thirty minutes before you enjoy it, bring it back to room temperature and decorate it with fresh mint. Bon appétit!

Sicilian sweet and sour spatula


Remember that the sweet and sour spatula, like all Sicilian preparations in bittersweet, serves at room temperature or better fresh (not cold refrigerator).

Sicilian sweet and sour spatula

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