It’s been a little while since my last post on sardines. I know most people are not sardine lovers like myself, but hopefully I can win a few over. Maybe? I’ve read that you have to try a given food ten times before your taste buds can decide whether they really like the food or not. So, still have a few more attempts to get you to try sardines. If not this preparation, than maybe the next (more sardine recipes on the way).

I love these little guys. Maybe they just remind me of my Mediterranean travels, as I long for lazy summer days on the beach followed by a leisurely meal of fresh fish, seafood, and wine. Maybe it’s in my genes? My grandfather loved sardines too; is there a gene for sardines? Or, maybe I’m a sardine addict. Whenever I see a recipe for sardines, I immediately want to make it.

During the warmer months, I love sardines, simply grilled (preferably over charcoal or wood). However, when grilling is not an option, pan searing is next best thing. This preparation is not drastically different from other versions I’ve made before; but in my book, you can never have too many sardine recipes (still have a few more ideas rattling around in my brain for these guys).

Adapted from a Mario Batali recipe, this version is pan fried and then marinated in a sauce of white wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh mint, and garlic. This gives the skin a nice texture, and adds a greater depth of flavor than marinating alone. Enjoy with some crusty bread and a glass of white wine.

Simplicity at its best.

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Marinated Sardines

3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cleaned headless sardines
Flour for dredging (about ¼ cup)

Place the garlic and mint in a small sauce pan with the wine vinegar and set over medium-low heat. As soon as the vinegar starts to boil, lower the heat to below a simmer and let the aromatics steep in the vinegar until you are ready to marinate the fish.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl and add the fish, to lightly coat. Shake off the excess flour.

In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, add about ¼ cup olive oil. When hot, add half of the sardines to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side, flip, and cook another 3 minutes. Remove the sardines from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined platter. Repeat with the remaining fish.

Add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil to the vinegar/garlic/mint mixture.

Layer the fish in a glass or ceramic dish and pour the oil/vinegar mixture over the fish. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 2 or 3 days before serving. Although, I also enjoy them served warm, with a bit of the oil-vinegar mixture drizzled over; with some crusty bread.

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