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Sardines

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Have been noticing lately very fresh looking Sardines imported from Portugal at the Fish market. Have been really tempted to get them just cause they look so darn fresh....But I have never even tasted one let alone come across a recipe for one.....Anyone have any recipes/info?

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  1. I have only had fresh sardines once when I was in Venice, Italy. They were prepared whole and simply seasoned with S&P then very lightly dusted with flour and gently pan fried in good olive oil till golden on both sides. Served hot with lemon on the side. They were amazing - my mouth waters at the memory. If only I could find them fresh in my own city...

    1. Mmmmm... fresh sardines... grilled, baked, broiled, fried... just a little EVOO , salt, pepper, and maybe chopped garlic... cooked rare or immoliated... might fine stuff! The mainstay of Spanish and Portuguese tapas and bar foods.

      Whenever I see really nice ones I buy several dozen... just for me... and more if cooking for others. Served hot from the broiler or grill with a crisp wine... or then chilled and marinated in EVOO or a mild balsamic dressing... Mmmm Mmmmm Good.

      1. In Portugal in July there's a National festival (can't recall the name) and fresh sardines are everywhere. Walking down a little alleyway, you'll see folks squatting over hibachi-type grills that're filled with sardines. That's how I like them, grilled, rubbed with a little oil, s & p, and served with lemon wedges. The simpler the preparation, the better.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Pat Hammond

          I totally agree, but sometimes, that's not feasible in the winter...:(

          I used a technique one of my friends told me to use for mackeral...get a cast iron skillet SMOKING hot under your broiler, like ten minutes. Drizzle the fishies with EVOO and S&P, drop them on the skillet, put them under for 5 or 6 minutes. They'll probably flame up, all the better. Squeeze with lemon when they come out....They tasted damned close to grilled, so crispy I could eat the heads whole....Mmmmmmmmm My cat actually kept tryong to worm a paw up to my plate, and meowed pitiously the whole time I was eating. Tough!

          Link: http://www.bistrodraw.com

          1. re: galleygirl

            I'll absolutely try your technique. After reading it, there's no way I won't be shopping for sardines this week.

            (You're a hard woman, GG. Give the cat some fish!)

            1. re: Pat Hammond

              I already give her my salmon skin....;)

              Link: http://www.bistrodraw.com

            2. re: galleygirl

              Haven't made fresh sardines in ages because they're so hard to find. Courthouse Fish in Cambridge is where I've bought them in the past, but it's a pain to get there. Where do you buy them? I usually grill, too - can't wait to try your technique.

              1. re: JRL

                Last time I got them, it was (shock of shocks!!!) at my local (Brookline) Stop and Shop, or the "ethnic" S&S, because it has lots of #66 bus traffic from outside the neighborhood.
                I haven't seen them for a few weeks, and it's a mediocre fish market, except for the whole, dressed catfish, and whatever whole fish, like the sardines, they get on a whim. I then tried to get them at Courthouse, but I just missed; the sign was still up, but the fishies were gone. They say it's best to go early in the day to catch them.

                BTW, it was a Boston hound, Striperguy, who coached me in that technique...I often do it with whole mackeral from Super88...

                Link: http://www.bistrodraw.com/Furniture.htm

                1. re: galleygirl

                  I never see anything that "exotic" at my S&S. I usually call Courthouse Fish to make sure they have them and ask them to hold some for me. They used to come in on a regular day - iirc, Wed or Thurs.
                  Maybe I'll try the mackerel - I love it, but have yet to convince DH.

          2. I had them a few times when I was in Portugal, and they were part of some of the best meals I've ever had. In Portugal, they rub both sides with coarse sea salt and grill them. Mmmmm. However, they said that you shouldn't eat sardines in months with "r" in the name - I was lucky enough to be there in May!

            1. They have a full, ceiling high tank of sardines swimming around at Seablue restaurant in the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas (an incredibly great restaurant, but the way). And, they have information placks on the base of the aquarium that have some interesting facts. See just some at, http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/living_spec...

              As for the flavor, it is a fatty fish like salmon (not really as oily as mackerel, but almost). It is a dark flesh, strong in flavor, yet a very delicate soft fish. In fact, there are some 20 varieties of "sardine," and most often they are a herring (in the U.S.
              )
              As for nutrients, they contain quite a lot of magnesium which is great for alot of things, but actually helps one sleep. Many (especially the smaller ones) contain edible bones, so they area rich in calcium. They are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), too. They are considered a "super food."

              Preparations vary (and you've seen the canned ones? in oil, in mustard sauce, in hot sauce, smoked, cured). Some Sacndinavian preps include pickling and cream sauces. Sometimes, they are made into a paste and added to salad dressings or sauces like an anchovy.

              Since they are a strong-flavor fish, IMO, a little dab 'l do ya.

              Link: http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf...

              1. f
                farmersdaughter

                Paula Wolfert's "The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen" has a great recipe for avocado-sardine toasts that calls for canned Portugese sardines. I'm sure it would work just as well if you use your fresh sardines instead of the canned, and grill your sardines with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

                The method is to make a parsley vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil with parsley and sherry vinegar, season with s&p to taste and marinate the fish in the vinaigrette for at least 1 hour.

                Grill, toast or broil some thin slices of country style bread to make bruschetta. Drain the sardines and liberally coat the bread with the vinaigrette. Slice a hass avocado as thin as you can (chill it before for easier slicing for an hour or so). Paula recommends using a mandoline to slice the avocado, but I just used a knife and they were thin enough. Top the brushed bread with a few slices of avocado, top with a portion of the sardines, and scatter some scallions and chives on top and serve.

                These are wonderful. The salty sardines with the creamy, buttery avocado are a great combination.

                3 Replies
                1. re: farmersdaughter

                  F.D, When I read your post I thought the recipe was so weird it had to be good. Ran to the store and made it this afternoon. What a wonderfully different snack! Thanks for being a true Chowhound and spreading the knowledge.

                  1. re: Leper
                    f
                    farmersdaughter

                    Thanks for the feedback, Leper. I'm glad you enjoyed them. I made them for a dinner party and the guests (after their initial skepticism) loved them!!

                  2. re: farmersdaughter

                    Had an avocado I couldn't decide what to do with and serendipitously came upon your post. Had all the ingredients on hand except bread, so I put it on crackers. Aside from not having the full benefit of the soaked bread, I absolutely loved it. Can't wait to make it again with bread.
                    Love a quick, easy recipe that yields a sublime result. Paula Wolfert's recipes are always good, but usually take a lot more time and effort than this one.
                    THANK YOU!