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Today’s fresh catch from Siren SeaSA was also scary for us. Fresh sardines out of Monterey Bay. Not teeny sardines, either, but half-foot whole fish, guts and all. Sardines are wildly healthy and sustainable. They’re high in Omega-3s and low in mercury. They smelled slightly fishy, but I didn’t think it was a bad smell – they smelled fresh and briny.
Larry and I discussed cleaning. We’ve both cleaned fish (trout) but not since we were kids. I’m squeamish so he offered to clean and gut them, with the help of a video posted on the Siren site. We knew we were getting sardines so we had scouted out a number of recipes and settled on something very simple – marinated and grilled, served with a piquant sauce and crusty peasant bread on the side.
The cleaning was kind of gross but Larry did a great job. He left half of them with the heads on and prepared half without. I definitely prefer without. The marinade is just olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, then the fish are grilled whole. We grilled the bread, too (it was perfect and really delicious). The sauce is okay. We would have been fine without it – it’s very vinegar-y.
But the fish – it’s really good. So fresh, buttery and mild. We learned to strip out the backbone to remove most of the large bones. I even ate some with the skin on although neither of us were totally comfortable eating the small bones. It’s not something I’d search out in the future, but I won’t be afraid to cook it again. And I’m definitely interested in trying out sardines in a restaurant.
- Grilled Sardines with Piquillo Pepper Sauce (Food & Wine, September 2011)
Wine: Ridge 2004 Lytton Estate Syrah