16 medium-sized fresh sardinesscaled & gutted, head & backbone removed, butterflied.
2 large white onionsfinely sliced
2 Bay Leaves
Handful pine nuts
Small amount White Wine
175mls white wine vinegar(or white balsamic vinegar)
1 teaspoon coriander seedscrushed
1 teaspoon pink peppercornscrushed
plain flourfor dusting
Light olive oilfor frying
Salt and Black Pepperto season
How to Cook Sardines in Saor:
- I’d strongly recommend trying to convince your friendly local fishmonger to clean and prepare the sardines, otherwise the first step in this recipe is a bit involved.
- In the event, however, that your persuasive powers fail, what you’ll need is one pair of long kitchen gloves, an apron, some kitchen scissors, maybe even a shower cap (flying fish scales do have a tendency to get everywhere), and a short-ish sharp knife.
- Holding a sardine by the tail, remove the scales by running the knife at a perpendicular angle along the body of the fish, toward the head.
- Once all the scales are removed, snip off the head of the fish using kitchen scissors, and make an incision along the length of its undercarriage to the tail.
- Remove the innards, and then turn the sardine over and open out, cut side down, onto a cutting board.
- Gently apply pressure along the backbone of the fish using your thumb.
- This will loosen the spine and make it easier to remove.
- Flip the fish back over and, placing the tip of the small knife under the backbone of the fish, pull this forward from tail to head to remove.
- Rinse the butterflied fillets briefly under water, and place on a large plate.
- Once you have a lovely pile of butterflied sardines, dust each of them lightly with some plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
- In a large frying pan, heat approximately 1.5cm deep of light olive oil over a medium heat to shallow-fry the fillets.
- Fry until lightly golden on both sides, then place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
- Now, heat a small dry frying pan over a low heat.
- Add the pine nuts and lightly toast until golden, taking care that they don’t burn.
- To prepare the raisins, cover them with a little white wine in a small bowl and allow to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Sauté the finely sliced onion in some light olive oil over a medium-low heat, allowing them to soften slowly.
- Stir frequently over the next 20-30 minutes to ensure that the onion does not stick or burn.
- Once the onion is looking transparent and lightly caramelized, add the crushed coriander, ground cloves, and crushed pink peppercorns, followed by the vinegar.
- Stir, and allow to cook together for a further 3 minutes before removing from the heat.