i am always looking for cool ideas to cook fish these days. so when i found this recipe for sardines as fingerfood / tapas i ripped it right out of the magazine. sardines? sure! i tried several kinds of fish in the past weeks and i think i am already tasting differences. so today i'll buy myself some sardines and quickly fry them up for a nice lunch ... or so i thought! can you believe i did not find one single fishmonger in linz who could sell me fresh sardines?! yes, okay, after half a day on my bike on tour through the city i finally found a shop that would sell frozen ones (which i bought anyway). but i wanted to cook them straight away! i would have to thaw and gill them - and that is something that i am not really curious about. i never gilled a fish and honestly, i don't ever want to. i confess that i prefer my meat clean and cut into handy pieces in a styrofoam box. see no evil, hear no evil, don't think of the fact that you actually eat something that was alive once ... yesyesyes! how naive ... don't judge me!
so what is all that about?! are there really no fresh sardines available in this city?!
of course there are. somebody hinted that i could order them in a local eurospar and they would have them available cleaned and gilled the next morning. this is exactly what i wanted! i stuck the frozen sardines in my freezer compartment - they can wait until i am ready to actually gill an animal ... and then i ordered fresh sardines from the eurospar at the city's (only?) shopping center.
[stop looking at me like that!]
rinse 500 g sardines (15 fish) and pat them dry. dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. when the oil is hot, fry the sardines until brown and crispy. remove to a large serving plate, and keep warm.
add four chopped cloves of garlic to the pan and cook until brown. add one tbsp of paprika powder, one bayleaf, 100 ml balsamic vinegar (the original requires white vinegar), 100 ml white wine and 100 ml water and allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally. when the liquid has reduced by about half, pour the sauce over the sardines. you can sprinkle the fish with chopped herbs too - i used chopped basil. the herbs are optional. let stand for at least two hours to allow the fish to marinate.
while looking for other recipes about sardines i found a similar one here. apparently those sardines are called "naples style". who knew!
i also strained and reduced the marinade by two thirds and it makes a wonderful and glossy dip / sauce for the filets. though there is 1/3 of balsamic vinegar in this sauce, it is not acidic at all. it actually gives the fish the final kick!
all in all it took me half a day to cook plus two days to actually obtain sardines, but it really was all worth it!