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Sweet-and-Sour Sole, Venetian Style



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"Fish, to taste right, must swim three times -
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Sweet-and-Sour Sole, Venetian Style
Chef Jody Adams

In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs
In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs

by Julia Child with Nancy Verde Barr, 1995, Alfred A. Knopf

“Always interested in Italian regional dishes, Jody Adams has adapted this
spicy fish recipe from the Venetian repertoire. The finished dish, which
can be served hot or at room temperature, is based on an old Italian method
of keeping fish from spoiling in a hot climate – it was the large amount of
vinegar that did the work. Jody has tamed and sweetened it for modern
tastes. It is a fascinating combination of flavors, with its spicy peppers,
garlic, raisins, pine nuts, and orange juice.”

Ingredients for 4 servings

For the sole
8 fresh skinless and boneless sole fillets
(imported channel sole or gray sole),
4 to 5 ounces each and 3/8 inch thick
Freshly ground white pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging the fillets)
Excellent olive oil

For the sauce
4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (1/3 cup)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons raisins, soaked in 2 tablespoons
Marsala wine or Sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons excellent olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar or
white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the garnish
16 pieces pickled red peppers, either
homemade (recipe follows) or store-bought

Special Equipment Suggested
A 12-inch no-stick frying pan

Preparing the Sole:  Season the sole fillets with salt and pepper and
dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Heat the frying pan with 1/8
inch of olive oil. When very hot but not smoking, sauté the sole until
golden brown on each side and just cooked through, about 5 minutes
per side. Transfer to a platter.
Preparing the Sauce:
  In the same frying pan, over moderate heat, add
the shallots and sauté a minute or two, just until tender. Add the garlic
and cook an additional minute. Stir in the red pepper flakes, the raisins
with their Marsala or Sherry, and the pine nuts; reduce to a glaze – a
minute or so. Swirl in the orange juice and boil down by a third. Then
whisk in the olive oil to thicken the sauce; stir in the vinegar, and season
with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the fish, and garnish with
the red pepper strips.

Serving Suggestions:  Chef Jody suggests you accompany the dish
with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh spinach.

Pickled Red Peppers
Ingredients for 1 1/2 cups

The pickling liquid
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pickling spices
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup water

The peppers
2 large red bell peppers

Special Equipment Suggested
A 6- to 8-cup stainless steel saucepan
A 2-cup screw-top jar

Bring the ingredients for the pickling liquid to a boil in the saucepan
and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the peppers into quarters
and remove the seeds, ribs, and stems. Turn them into the pickling
liquid, cover the pan, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to
make sure all the peppers spend some time submerged in the liquid.
One by one, remove them from the liquid, and peel them – the skins
will come off quite easily. Slice them into neat 1/8-inch julienne, and
drop into the glass jar. Pour on the hot cooking liquid, cover, and
store in the refrigerator.

Ahead-of-Time Note:  The peppers will keep for several months.

Featured Archive Recipe:
Rao's Broiled Fillet of Sole
Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks, Trapani Style
(Marcella Hazan)


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