Gurnard with onions and capers in agrodolce

Gurnard with onions and capers in agrodolce

‘Agrodolce’ is the Italian word for ‘bitter–sweet’. At my restaurant The Seahorse we use very good vinegars that have sweetness in them, and at least 12-year-old balsamic vinegar. If you find it hard to get very high-quality vinegars, dissolve a little sugar in white wine vinegar until the sharp edge has gone. The sweetness of the lightly caramelized onion with the salty capers adds a nice dimension to this dish.

Serves 2


50 g/2 oz/4 tbsp salted butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small gurnard, skinned, gutted and deheaded
5 tbsp white wine vinegar (sweet or sweetened)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
small handful of salted capers, rinsed
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Parsley


Preheat the oven to 240ºC/475ºF/gas mark 9.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onion gently for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in an ovenproof pan and place over a high heat. Season the fish and cook in the oil, flesh side down, for 3–4 minutes, until browned. Transfer to the oven and bake for a further 8 minutes, until cooked through.

Turn the heat under the onions to high and wait until it foams then dies down – about a minute. Add your sweetened vinegar – it will really sizzle. 

Next, add the balsamic vinegar, then the capers and parsley and cook for 30 seconds. Pour over the fish as you serve it.



Ask your fishmonger to skin, gut and dehead 2 small gurnard.