So, my client was organizing an event at hers and asked me if I could make pickled sardines.
She had different infused vodka and as we know, in Russia they eat pickled fish while drinking vodka that’s why I went for that dish.
I love sardines, in a can, fresh, with vinegar as my mum does, raw marinated, grilled that you eat with your hands straight out of the barbecue…
I bought some at my fishmonger who didn’t empty and fillet them (obviously not, too small) so I did it myself. Took off the scales with a little knife, emptied and washed them. And then, pickle them. The cleaning and filleting may sound difficult but it’s not.
There are different ways of making filets of sardines, the easiest way is with scissors. Cut the head, the fins, open the belly with your scissors all the way through and with your thumb, all at once, take off the insides. Then, belly on the chopping board, press your fingers slightly throughout the spine to unstick the spine from the meat, turn your sardine over and you should be able to separate the spine and bones from the flesh easily, holding it by the tail and pulling slowly.
Wash your fillets keep them aside on an absorbant paper.
The sardines can be eaten as it is, pickled or you can make a rillettes/pâté. If you want to make a pâté, you should count 1 sardine per person, it’s more than enough knowing that you will serve them on toast or crackers. If you eat the pâté with a spoon, that’s another story, you will need more sardines.
The good news is that sardines are cheap.
- 12 sardines
- 12 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 3⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
In a bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic. Pour the marinade onto the sardines placed on a baking tray. Cover with a film and put in the fridge for a few hours, ideally overnight. Turn the fish occasionally if you can.
When ready, eating the sardines just like that on bread with butter is a treat, if you would like to make the rillettes, once the sardines are cooked with the marinade, put everything except the oil in a blender. Mix for a few minutes, if it’s too dry and you can’t obtain a paste, add some of the oil from the marinade till obtaining a spreadable paste.
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