Cooking with an Italian touch: The Venetian Pantry's recipe for Pesce in Saòr
Italian food has long been known for its simplicity, rich flavours and authenticity, three things that Martina, better known as The Venetian Pantry, brings to her home cooking. Martina is a lifestyle, home and recipe creator who moved to London in her early twenties. First living in Shoreditch with her partner Joe, they moved from their noisy, one-bedroom flat to a mid-terrace Victorian house in Stoke Newington, which they have renovated into a modern London home with an Italian touch.
Cooking is one of Martina's biggest passions, and she takes pride in her beautifully appointed kitchen. Martina considers quality cookware to be an often-overlooked design essential and invests in even the smallest details, from plates to pans. "When we moved home, I decided it was time to invest in good quality, long-lasting pots and pans. I bought a Crane set and never looked back. I particularly love the Cast Iron Herringbone Griddle Pan, which is so versatile and great to give a quick char to veggies."
Often, it's these little touches that really add the magic. Martina admits that she is a sucker for a good design gadget, as her partner Joe knows well. But can you blame her? "Who wouldn't be seduced by the prospect of being woken up by the aroma of fresh coffee in the morning? This Coffee Alarm Clock has been on my wishlist for a long time — which is bizarre, for someone who doesn't even drink coffee. Think how fun it would be for guests staying over to programme their own coffee alarm clock. After all, what could be more essential than something that makes your heart sing a little every day?" For a luxurious present, look no further than this gadget, guaranteed to make any kitchen rival even the best boutique hotel.
Martina captures a touch of Italian style in her interiors by making the most of natural light, using marble surfaces and neutral colours to invite a sense of spaciousness inside. She adds natural, vintage wooden furniture to evoke a traditional Mediterranean country home and pairs these materials with brass details and fresh flowers. With all these Italian-inspired details, it seemed natural that Martina would share one of her favourite dishes, Pesce in Saòr. Read on for the recipe.
Recipe for Pesce in Saòr by Martina
As far as Venetian food is concerned, you can never go wrong with cicchetti – small bites served on fresh sliced bread. Whenever I am in town and head over to a bàcaro, I always make sure the selection includes at least one cicchetto in saòr.
Saòr (literally translated as “flavour”) is a way of cooking onions in agrodolce, with vinegar and a little sugar, and then using them to marinate fish. Historically, this was done to preserve fish for longer, and it is still one of the most popular dishes of the region. The most common types of fish used in this preparation are sardines and prawns, but it truly works wonders on all kinds and even veggies.
Just make sure you prepare the dish enough in advance – saòr needs at least a night of rest in the fridge (or even better, 24 hours) to reach its full flavoursome potential.
Cooking time: 10–15 mins
Resting time: 8 hrsIngredients:
2 Large Tropea onions
500g Chunks of white fish of choice (monkfish, cod, haddock and sea bass do nicely!)
150ml White wine vinegar
2 tbsp Raisins (or dried cranberries)
2 tbsp Pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Olive oilMethod
1. Peel and thinly slice the onions.
2. In a mixing bowl, rub the sugar into the onion slices.
3. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan.
4. Add the sliced onions and stir regularly, until they are soft and slightly translucent.
5. Add the vinegar and the raisins. Reduce the heat to medium and let the liquid simmer until the vinegar has completely evaporated. Season to taste.
6. While the onions are cooking, gently pan fry the chunks of fish for a couple of minutes on each side, taking care to not overcook them.
7. Layer the onions and the fish in a small serving platter (a base of onions, then the fish, then onions again). They should fit snugly together.
8. Leave to cool down. Cover the plate and leave it to rest in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours. 24hrs would give you the best results.
9. Serve the fish at room temperature on a warm slice of bread, with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.
For The Venetian Pantry, authentic style is everything. When carefully choosing items for her home, Martina isn't just interested in aesthetics. Craftsmanship, quality, and artisanal heritage are essential. It's not just about aesthetics for Martina.
"Ultimately, for me, it's all about the stories these pieces tell".