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Kaasaegsem Skumbria (Marinated Fish in Tomato Sauce)

This modern take on the traditional Estonian dish of skumbria gets better with every day that it is allowed to sit after preparation. More time allows the fried fish to absorb the tart and acidic flavors of the marinade more fully. For best results, use fresh flounder or halibut fillets. Recipe Servings: Serves 10–12
Prep Time
15 minutes
+ 24 hours resting
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
24 hours 45 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 2 1/2 lbs (1.3 kg) thick flounder or halibut fillets
  • 2 cups (240 g) flour, generously seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • onion salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 15 oz (425 g) tomato sauce
  • 10 oz (283 g) tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) ketchup
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fish:
  2. Prepare the fillets by cutting each into 2 inch (5 cm) squares. Cover the fish first in the seasoned flour, then in the egg, and lastly, coat a second time with flour.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of oil. Fry the fish for 3–4 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Sprinkle fish with the onion salt when turning over. Set the fried fish aside.
  4. Marinade:
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium low heat and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until it is golden brown.
  6. In a large saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, soup, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the sautéed onions and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is completely warmed.
  7. Assemble the finished dish in a flat-bottomed glass bowl. Spoon the marinade sauce and some of the onions into the bottom of the bowl, then add a layer of fish. Continue alternating sauce and fish layers until the bowl is full. Top with a thick layer of sauce and refrigerate, covered, for at least 24 hours before serving.