Cape Winelands Cuisine Recipe: Pickled Fish

In some of the old cookbooks, the terms ‘curried fish’ and ‘pickled fish’ were used indiscriminately, causing confusing as to the ingredients used. Generally, however, pickled fish referred to a recipe where the fish was cooked in flavoured vinegar, without the addition of saffron or turmeric.

In this mouthwatering recipe, raisins and a boiled vinegar-and-spice mixture are used to prepare this delectable dish.


4 Tbsp (60 ml) coarse sea salt

1.2 kg white fish fillets

1 red onion, sliced

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup (250 ml) cake flour

1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika (optional)

Pinch of salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

1¼ cups (300 ml) white wine vinegar

1¼ cups (300 ml) dry white wine

5 sprigs fresh marjoram

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1 Tbsp (15 ml) capers

1 Tbsp (15 ml) seedless raisins

Olive oil, for drizzling


Salt the fish and leave to stand for 39 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel.

Scatter half the onion and the lemon zest in a glassware dish large enough to fit all the fish in a single layer.

Mix the flour, paprika and a pinch of salt. Dredge the fish through the flour and fry in oil for a few minutes until cooked.

Add the vinegar, wine marjoram and garlic to a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

Place the fish on top of the onion slices in the dish, top with the remaining onion slices and pour the hot vinegar mixture over.

Sprinkle with the capers and raisins. Pour the olive oil over, cover and refrigerate for a few days, preferably a week, before serving with homemade bread as a starter or as a main course with a crisp garden salad.