To grill gilthead – or to fry zander

Get fresh gilthead, whether from the sea or a salt pool or any other water, and they should still be with their scales. Gut them, wash them well and put them for two hours in a mixture of oil, salt, vinegar and fennel seeds. Put them on a grill and cook them over moderate fire, basting them with the same mixture in which they have steeped. Turn them from time to time so they will get well cooked. Serve them hot, dressed with the same sauce.

If you want to fry them, scale them, clean out their insides, wash them well and sprinkle them with salt so they will be tastier. Flour them and fry them in olive oil. Serve them hot, garnished with sliced lime or else with orange juice.

Serves 6

1 kg fish fillets (zander, gilthead or other white fish)

1-2 oranges

2 dl flour


olive oil

Dry fillets on paper towel etc. Make fresh orange juice from one of the oranges. Leave the other one for garnishing if you want. Sprinkle salt on each side of fish fillets (as much as you want) and dipp them to the flour. Heat a skillet and olive oil and fry fillets on moderate heat/fire depending on the size of the fillets as long as they are done (about 3-5 minutes on each side). Garnish with fresh orange juice and orange slices. Serve hot.

Comments: This dish is very easy, open fire is not necessary, you can do it at your home kitchen too if you want. Recipe is from Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera from 1570. The recipe is from book III which is called ”dishes proper for lean and lenten days”. This book contains about 160 recipes on how to cook different types of fish. Recipes are pretty long and usually they give lots of choices about what ingredients to add. The recipe I used this time tells us how to grill giltheads. Last part of the recipe tells how to fry them. I wanted to fry them, because I wanted to try out how orange juice goes with the fish. It was very tasty! I bet that the other recipe for grilling the fish is good too.

(The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi, 1570, Terence Scully)

1 thought on “To grill gilthead – or to fry zander”

  1. I’m glad I found your blog. I’m working on a seafood cookbook with recipes from the 15th-20th centuries. Looking forward to checking out your recipes!

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