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Feb 29, 2008 05:19 AM

Best thing to do with whole sardines...

...when it's FAR too cold for outdoor grilling.


I'm having a couple of people over for an impromptu dinner tonight. I've got some lovely whole sardines in the freezer, a well-stocked pantry, and a corner store with great organic produce. Should I broil the sardines, seasoned and oiled, just as I would grill them, or do something else entirely? And what would that other thing be?

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  1. I've grilled them on a grill pan, and have also seen a wonderful Lidia recipe on TV for them - I'll see if I can find it for you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I've roasted them, I remember - - let me know if you want the recipe

      Couldn't find the sardine recipe on her site ...

      1. re: MMRuth

        That sounds lovely. The recipe would be great, if you can spare it. Thanks!

        1. re: chloe103

          Paraphrased from Sweet Myrtle & Bitter Honey:

          2 pounds sardines with scales rubbed off
          1 cup extra virgin olive oil
          8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
          1 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
          Juice of 2 lemons
          1 tsp coarse sea salt
          1/4 cup Vernaccia wine (or other dry white wine)

          Preheat oven to 350F.
          Clean the sardines - remove gills and insides - rinse off.
          Coat bottom of sheet pan with half of olive oil, place sardines parallel to each other on pan - close but don't let them touch. Sprinkle parsley and garlic over sardines.
          Combine remaining olive oil and lemon juice in bowl and drizzle over sardines, then sprinkle w/ sea salt.
          Cook for 5 minutes, then pour over white wine, cook for 5 more minutes.

    2. I would roll them in a seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture and fry them quickly in a preheated, oiled, heavy skillet (cast iron), and serve with wedges of lemon.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I too have some whole sardines in my freezer, but am unsure/scared of prepping them. Can anyone give me any tips or instructions? I've never cleaned a fish before.

        1. re: spopodopolis

          This should help get you started:

          I'm in the keep-the-head-on camp myself. It's really a matter of your comfort level: at one end of the spectrum, you can leave them entirely whole, and do no more than scale the fish. (The head, if grilled and crunchy, is really tasty. But I may be in the minority in thinking so.) At the other end of the spectrum, you can scale, gut, cut off the head and tail, and bone.

          1. re: chloe103

            Thanks! I'll probably wait till its warm enough to grill, then scale and gut only..

          2. re: spopodopolis

            I've never cleaned a fish before, also. The ones I have in the freezer have already been descaled & gutted, heads off. I do usually but them fresh but even then at least they have been gutted & descaled.

            Here's a great link that describes what to do with freshly caught fish:

        2. when i was in venice years ago, i had a version of sardines in sauer and damned near one of the best fish dishes i've ever had...Fried sardines that were marinated in a sweat/sour vinegar, onion mixture...I believe it was called Sardele in Saor or something like that....i'm sure you can find a reasonable recipe online...just thinking about it has made me very envious of yer fish loot!

          5 Replies
          1. re: sixelagogo

            Yes - that is exactly the Lidia recipe I was looking for and couldn't find! It looked wonderful, and I found the show online, but not her recipe.

              1. re: spopodopolis

                think of it as gatorade on the cheep :)

              2. re: sixelagogo

                I think it's the method called 'escabeche'. In Japan we make a similar dish called 'Nanban-zuke', commonly using fried fish and chicken but other protein as well. The marinade is a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, a little bit of sugar - so it's sweet & tangy. When I buy a monkfish liver from the Farmers Market, this is what I make.

                1. re: KuCake

                  Wow - that sounds great.

                  I just did a teeny bit of reading: Escabeche is Spanish in origin, and it definitely also plays on the sweet/sour theme. The recipes I've looked at vary a good bit, but many of them have some smoky undertones - paprika, cumin, etc. And there are lots of different fish that get used.The Italian version, Sardele in saor (a quick googling found this recipe: seems to be more specific, in part because it calls for sardines, and in part because the use of raisins and pine nuts seems fairly standard.

                  Food research is so the best way to spend a lazy Sunday morning.