Friday, April 24, 2015

FFWD - Sardine Escabeche

 

Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.
Alan Bennett

This week is our second last French Fridays with Dorie seafood dish.  Unfortunately, it comprises a rather oily fish concoction called Sardine Escabeche.

This challenge required us to use fresh sardines, so I dutifully went to the Queen Vic Market to find some (knowing that my suburban fish shop would not stock such a thing).  Fresh sardines were only $6.50 a kilo.  When I asked the fishmonger to fillet my sardines, he flatly refused, but was keen to sell me a 500g tray of frozen sardine fillets for $13!  Ahem - no.  (For the record, my 12 fresh sardines cost the princely sum of $2.55.)

Accordingly, on the night I made this dish, I set about filleting these little guys a la Karen Martini's video:

 
 
I have to say that it is quite a gory process.  I was prepared for it from the video, and wore food gloves to limit the mess.  Still, filleting 12 little fish with all of their organs still intact was not exactly a pleasant task.
 
Once the filleting was done, the rest of the process (flouring and shallow frying the sardine fillets, frying up some veges, adding a large quantity of oil to the veges and simmering,  then pouring over the fish before chilling for 6 hours or so) was quite easy.
 
Unfortunately, I do not understand the European love of putting large quantities of oil on fish.  I can understand that back in the day, it was a means of preserving them, but in the era of modern refrigeration, I just don't get it.  But then, I guess, some people really like oil-covered fish (see Salmon in a Jar). 
 
Thankfully, although this is definitely not a repeat dish for me, it tasted way better than salmon in a jar.  It was pleasant enough for cold oily fish with vegetables - at least everything was pre-cooked.  However, it still doesn't grab me.
 
To see what the other Doristas made of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website. 

19 comments:

Pam said...

I love sardines and a sample of this dish would be great. I have never seen fresh sardines here, and would try this. I agree about the amount of oil used.

Hotly Spiced said...

Good on you for taking up the task of filleting those tricky sardines. They really are extremely good value for money and so good for us that we should be eating them all the time. Only no one in this house likes them! They say they're ugly! Anyway, I'm really impressed you found fresh sardines and that you filleted them xx

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Yes I can see why they don't want to fillet them after having done it so many times. The first time was the worst, the next ones were less messy (I'm sure I had guts in my hair the first time) but they're so tasty! :D

CQUEK said...

I have got to try these sometime!

Mardi Michels said...

Gory AND fishy. And ugh, yes, remember salmon in a jar?

Liz Berg said...

I love sardines but there was no chance of finding them fresh in the landlocked Midwest.I'm now happy that I missed the cleaning process--and glad you liked it better than our other oily fish :)

Kathy said...

I had to pass on the sardines…I don't eat them canned…so I knew there was no way I would be making them! Even the smell makes me gag! Sorry too much info!
All I can say is….Kudos to you!! You are a trooper!

Trevor Sis Boom said...

The oil marinade had such a great flavor on day 2 that I found myself willingly mopping it up with tons of breads. Where it not for the bread I never would have filled up to 'dinner levels'. I'm still a sardines out of the can guy.

Diane Balch said...

I'm so glad I didn't make this... sounds like a restaurant only dish.

Nana said...

Oh Yeah, better than Salmon in a jar. I used shrimp
and loved everything else. Extra sauce will be great over pasta. Try it, you "may" like it.

Mary Hirsch said...

Wow, you made the effort. I can't even imagine filleting 12 sardines in my tiny condo - the odor, not an aroma I want to hang around with for a few days. But, good for you. I never even took a bite of my salmon in the jar so decided to forego this for a make-up I really wanted to do. Hats off to you, Gaye.

Betsy said...

Good show, Gaye! My fishmonger took the guts out for me (I've made the mistake of not asking before), but I did the filleting. I don't expect to repeat this either, though I really like the veg part. And, for the record, I really liked salmon in a jar...

KB from Prof Who Cooks said...

Having to fillet the fish myself would've been a major turn-off for me. Yuck. That said, I'm impressed you tried it and got do so with sardines! I made it with shrimp and the oil was not a problem at all, likely because shrimp isn't oily. I'll second Trevor's comment that the oil is super tasty with bread.

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Gaye, you certainly get extra kudos for filleting 12 fresh sardines! And the part about the rather copious amounts of oil used in this dish made me smile. I never got around to making the salmon in a jar - always thought that I would like this recipe but now I am not so sure anymore.
Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend,
Andrea

Karen @ From Scratch said...

I had to laugh at this statement: "It was pleasant enough for cold oily fish with vegetables"! You make it sound so appealing! Oh well, this project is a labor of love at this point and you did a great job getting through the gutting and not hating the end result.

oneexpatslife.com said...

I kind of wish that Dorie had indicated how many grams of sardines we needed, because I notice that they tended to differ in size quite a bit. Mine were certainly at least twice as large as yours. I enjoyed them, but the process was quite a bit of work.

Nana said...

I give you credit for even filleting those fish. They do
look good though. I went with the shrimp version and it was very good.

Diane Zwang said...

Well kudos to you for filleting these little guys. I am glad I skipped this one as I don't think I would like it cold.

Annie's Pantry said...

Looks good, you are a brave soul to fillet sardines. :)