Flathead in carpione

Flathead in carpione

Modern Italian Food
Earl Carter

In carpione means marinated in vinegar and wine. This seemingly simple dish is excellent, especially when prepared using flathead. It makes a wonderful and unusual addition to an antipasto selection. Like the recipe for sardines in saor, I suspect it was created before the advent of refrigeration, to preserve the fish for a few days.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg flathead fillets, cut into smaller pieces, depending on size
plain flour, for dusting
olive oil, for frying
butter, for frying
5 medium-sized carrots, cut into 3 mm thick rounds
* golden chicken stock [rid:9937]
or water
300ml dry white wine
300ml good quality white vinegar
whole peppercorns
3 whole fresh bay leaves
salt and pepper


  1. Dust the flathead pieces lightly in flour. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the fish on both sides until a light golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  2. Heat a little more oil and some butter in the same pan and add the carrots. Sauté over a low heat. Add a splash of stock or water and sauté slowly until the carrots are tender.
  3. In a separate pan, bring the wine to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. When cold, stir in the vinegar.
  4. Arrange some pieces of fish in a smallish, non-reactive dish and top with the carrots. Sprinkle on the peppercorns, tuck the bay leaves in among the fish pieces and season with salt and pepper as you go. Continue layering the fish and carrots until they are all used up. They should fit rather snugly. Pour the wine–vinegar mixture over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least one day before serving.
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