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Italian Fish Recipes: Sarde in Saor

Authentic Italian fish recipes: Sarde in Saor from Venice.

This is probably the most typical Venetian dish – you will find it in any restaurant or osteria (small tavern) in the Venice. The dish used to be prepared by fishermen on their boat and it solved the problem of preserving fish for many days. Originally the recipe was prepared with sardines, flour, onion and vinegar, then during the Renaissance people started adding raisins and pine nuts – these ingredients will sweeten the breath of the person eating the dish!

Ingredients for 4 people 

italian fish recipes

Sarde in Saor by Cook in Venice

750 gr fresh sardines

750 gr white onions

1 glass white wine vinegar


50 gr. pine nuts (optional)

50 gr. raisins (optional) 


oil to deep fry


  • Wash the sardines under cold running water, remove the heads and the innards.  Flour the sardines on both sides and deep fry in boiling hot oil until nice and golden.
  • Remove them from the oil, place them on kitchen paper to remove excess oil, add some salt and leave to rest.
Italian fish recipes

Fried Sardines by Cook In Venice

  • Now thinly slice the onions. Sautè the onion in some oil until they become soft and golden, then add the glass of white wine vinegar.

    italian fish recipes

    Slicing Onions with Ceramica Knives by U-Cook Italia

  • Bring to boil then switch the heat off.
  • Now take the sardines and place one layer in a small glass oven dish.
  • Place on top some of the onions and carry on making layers of sardines and onions (if you are using the pine nuts and the raisins add these as well to your layers).  Finish with a layer of onions.
  • As an option add some pine nuts and some raisin to the dish

    italian fish recipes

    Braised onions with vinegar by Cook In Venice

Put it in the fridge for minimum 24 hours, better 48 hours. 

Serve with grilled polenta.

PS: you can substitute the sardines with butternut squash, pumpkins, prawns and any other small white fish.