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Feb 18, 2005 11:26 PM


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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!


          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....;)


            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...


                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,

              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.