Recipe + pairing | Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Fish with agrodolce sauce

By Vinomofo
7 months ago
4 min read

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s fish with agrodolce sauce is perfect for warm spring + summer days, or for light eating, year 'round. Naturally a perfect pairing is going to feature whenever you decide to enjoy this, too.

Pairing tip: "Even the firm white fish on show here falls on the more “delicate” side of the protein scale, so I wouldn’t be looking for a wine with too much tannin going on. Still, I’d want a glass of something with structure to match that weight - something like a Yarra Valley chardonnay or a chenin blanc that’s got a bit of backbone and body. A riesling or albariño would also be a great shout - and red fans, if you can’t bear to go for a white, a provence-style rosé will also work wonderfully." - Nick

Try this with:

Granbazán Etiqueta Ámbar Albariño 2022

The grapes come from a unique vineyard, planted on a particular sandy-granite soil that made the region famous. Lovingly hand-picked, these albariño bunches head to the winery for 12 hours of skin contact, building flavour and texture into the fermenting juice, then aged on lees for 8 months. With naturally high acidity, the granite soil amplifies the wine, imparting an electric energy, lifting the wine above and beyond. Texture just adds to the feel, built in by lees work enhancing a broader mouthfeel, balanced by freshness and an incredible drive. Wow.

El Enemigo Chenin Blanc 2021

The fruit is sourced from 50 year old vines (who knew there were chenin vines that old in Mendoza!), pressed in whole clusters and then bottled unfined and unfiltered. We're talking texture for days, minerality, almond meal, cured lemon and a mouthwatering underscore of subtle salinity. It often takes a producer years to nail a new variety, but El Enemigo has done it in their first go round. Lucky us!


Fish with agrodolce sauce


  • 4 × 250 g skinless rockling fillets, or any firm white fish fillets of your choice

  • sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • fennel fronds, to serve (optional)


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, halved and very finely sliced

  • sea salt

  • 125 ml (½ cup) red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • 60 g pine nuts, lightly toasted

  • 2 tablespoons currants

  • large handful of mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped

A quick and simple fish dish with a sweet and sour sauce, or perhaps more of a dressing, for the fish. I love to make this on a balmy evening and pretend I am somewhere by the sea in Sicily. I’ve used skinless rockling fillets here, but ask your fishmonger what fish is best on the day. Swordfish or snapper are also lovely.

Make the agrodolce sauce by warming the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–low heat. Add the onion to the pan with a pinch of sea salt and cook very gently for around 15–20 minutes. Stir the onion occasionally to ensure it isn’t colouring too much – it should be soft and only just beginning to caramelise. Increase the heat to medium and add the vinegar, sugar, pine nuts and currants. Stir to coat the onion and help the sugar to dissolve. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to cool briefly. Stir through the mint and season to taste with salt. It should have a good balance of both sweet and sour; feel free to add more vinegar or sugar to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Season the fish on both sides with sea salt. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium–high heat, then add the fish. Cook the fish for around 3 minutes each side or until just cooked through (this will depend on the thickness of the fish) and golden. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and top with the agrodolce sauce. Scatter over a few fennel fronds, if using, and serve. 

This recipe is an extract from Around the Table by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, available now.

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