- 11⁄2 pounds small fish (red mullet, whiting, small mackerel, anchovy, or bogue)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- All-purpose flour for dredging and thickening
- Olive oil for frying, plus 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil for sauce
- 2 large red onions, chopped
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
- 4 large tomatoes, grated
- 1 cup water
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
Makes 4 servings
1. Wash and gut the fish, then pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish lightly in flour, tapping off any excess. Heat about 3/4 inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and, when the oil is very hot, fry the fish until golden on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.
2. Pour the oil from the skillet, scrape out any burned flour, and wipe the skillet dry. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions and garlic, stirring, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle in 1 scant tablespoon of flour and stir continuously until the flour turns a light golden. Be careful not to burn. Add the grated tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the water and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and remove from the heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
3. Place the fish in a large container with a tight-fitting lid and cover with the sauce. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Serve at room temperature.