Sardines in Saor

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Sardines in Saor

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16 medium-sized fresh sardines scaled & gutted, head & backbone removed, butterflied.
2 large white onions finely sliced
2 Bay Leaves
Handful pine nuts
Handful raisins
Small amount White Wine
175mls white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
2 cloves ground
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns crushed
plain flour for dusting
Light olive oil for frying
Salt and Black Pepper to season
  • Medium




How to Cook Sardines in Saor:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove the innards, and then turn the sardine over and open out, cut side down, onto a cutting board.
  6. Gently apply pressure along the backbone of the fish using your thumb.
  7. This will loosen the spine and make it easier to remove.
  8. 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.
  9. Rinse the butterflied fillets briefly under water, and place on a large plate.
  10. Once you have a lovely pile of butterflied sardines, dust each of them lightly with some plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
  11. In a large frying pan, heat approximately 1.5cm deep of light olive oil over a medium heat to shallow-fry the fillets.
  12. Fry until lightly golden on both sides, then place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
  13. Now, heat a small dry frying pan over a low heat.
  14. Add the pine nuts and lightly toast until golden, taking care that they don’t burn.
  15. 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.
  16. Sauté the finely sliced onion in some light olive oil over a medium-low heat, allowing them to soften slowly.
  17. Stir frequently over the next 20-30 minutes to ensure that the onion does not stick or burn.
  18. Once the onion is looking transparent and lightly caramelized, add the crushed coriander, ground cloves, and crushed pink peppercorns, followed by the vinegar.
  19. Stir, and allow to cook together for a further 3 minutes before removing from the heat.

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