When I decided to make limoncello, I went out and purchased an entire handle of everclear. Making limoncello requires that you, at a minimum, cut the liquor with an equal measure of simple syrup. That means that my 1.75 liters of liquor becomes at least 3.5 liters of liqueur. Because I used everclear, a very strong (190 proof) liquor, I added a bit of additional water to cut down the burn of the alcohol. I’ve had REALLY strong limoncello in the past, and it can leave your tongue raw. I wanted to avoid that. The finished product came out at around 75 proof, almost as strong as your typical bottle of vodka, but you’d never know it.
All that was to say that from 1.75 liters of everclear, I ended up with about 4 liters (or one gallon) of assorted citrus liqueurs. I gave a few away as late Christmas presents, but that is still a whole lot aperitif to get through. Here’s a delightful solution that I found for using a bit of the excess. And this would obviously work with store-bought limoncello as well, if you find yourself with a surplus.
The recipe I am sharing with you today is a riff on an agrodolce sauce, an Italian sweet and sour sauce, in this case made with limoncello. Agrodolce is typically made with vinegar and sugar. By using limoncello, which already contains both sweet and sour elements, this becomes an incredibly easy sauce to put together that is delectable with fish or poultry.
Limoncello Agrodolce Cod
1 lb. cod fillets
¼ cup good olive oil
½ cup limoncello
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
¼-½ tsp crushed red pepper
Salt, to taste
Add the garlic and red pepper to the pan with oil, and cook over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to brown. This is a spicy sauce, so if you are sensitive to heat, adjust the red pepper as necessary.
Add the limoncello and allow it to reduce for 3 minutes. Make sure the pan isn’t too hot when you add the limoncello. If the pan is too hot, the sugar in the limoncello will immediately turn to candy and your sauce will break. Add the cod fillets. Cook cod for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on thickness.
Remove cod and continue to reduce the sauce for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over fish and serve with a starch (like a nice, crusty bread) to soak up any extra sauce.