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Fish and Shellfish

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Hake in agrodolce with samphire

message posted 03-May-08 10:18:52
If you come across something “in agrodolce” (Italian) or aigre-doux (French), it is likely to have been sweetened with honey or sugar and soured with vinegar, tamarind or lemon juice

As for modern Britain, you have only to think of the chutneys, pickled beetroots, pickled eggs and pickled onions that add a sharp-sweet note to otherwise bland meats and cheeses to realise that sweet-and-sour cookery is alive and well. Tomato ketchup, made with malt vinegar, spices, tomatoes, onions, apples, sugar, salt and pepper, is both sweet and sharp, a balance that keeps us coming back for more; mint sauce, too; even marmalade is a balance of sugar with the natural bitterness of citrus fruits

Serve with boiled samphire or steamed broccoli

4 hake fillets, skin-on
1tbsp flour sea salt and pepper
1tbsp olive oil
Agrodolce sauce:
1tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 anchovy fillets, mashed
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1tbsp tomato puree or passata
2tbsp sultanas
1tsp diced candied peel or mostarda di frutta
1tbsp caster sugar
100ml hot water or stock
1tbsp red wine vinegar, or more
2tbsp pine nuts, toasted

METHOD: For the sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic for 1 min until golden. Add the anchovies, tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sultanas, candied peel or mostarda, caster sugar and hot water or stock; simmer for 5 min.

Lightly coat the fish in seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sear the fish, skin-side down, until almost cooked. Turn and “kiss” the other side quickly, to finish the cooking. Add the vinegar to the sauce, taste and adjust. Slip the fish into the sauce and simmer for 3 min. Serve the fish with the sauce, and scatter with pine nuts.

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