Marinated Fish with Vinegar and Mint: Pesciolini in Scapece
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated bread crumbs
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds cleaned headless small fish, either sardines or smelts
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Place the garlic and mint in a small saucepan with the wine vinegar and set over medium-low heat. As soon as the vinegar starts to boil, lower the heat to below a simmer and let the aromatics steep in the vinegar until ready to serve.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl and add the fish, to lightly coat. In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add half of the remaining olive oil. Fry the fish on both sides until cooked through. As fish are fried, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined platter.
When all the fish have been fried, discard the oil and wipe out the pan. Add the remaining clean oil to the pan and set over very low heat to warm.
Layer the fish in a glass or ceramic dish, sprinkling each layer liberally with the toasted bread crumbs and distributing the garlic and mint from the vinegar infusion. The top layer of bread crumbs should completely cover the fish.
Combine the reserved warm vinegar and warm clean oil and pour over the bread crumbs. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 2 or 3 days before serving.
Recipe copyright Mario Batali, 2002. All Rights Reserved.