Sardines don’t only come in tins!
Fresh sardines are wonderful and quite cheap. During the summer the aroma of grilled sardines waffles through the air as tapas bars and restaurants grill them “a la plancha”, seasoned only with coarse sea salt and served with a slice of country bread. The meat is tenderly inviting, but watch out for those bones! :shocked: .
One summer I had to go to the A&E to have a bone removed from the back of my throat. Not a nice. :cwy: .
However, that experience hasn’t put me off sardines at all, it has just made me eat the more carefully. .
Named after the island of Sardinia, sardines are available fresh, pickled, smoked and canned (in tins). The latter is what most people will be accustomed to, however if your fishmonger has some, do try them fresh, you´ll be hooked.
Fillets of sardines are covered with salt and some form of vinegar with a few slivers of garlic and some aromatics. They are left for a few hours then wiped and placed in olive oil and topped with chopped parsley.
In tapas bars they are usually served two fillets per portion or “tapa”. They are great with a chilled Fino Sherry. .
Our fillets were made to be served in our bar during our “Tapas Time” when we prepare daily nibbles for people to enjoy in the afternoon. We also served up some dried seasoned beef.
Thin slices of beef are marinated and dried slowly in our oven before being briefly deep fried.
It would be a crime to call them Laotian Beef Jerky, that just makes the reader assume that we have copied the South American dried meat that was introduced to the US in the 16th Century. Laotians have been drying meats and fish for preservation since time immemorable.
Anyway, back to the sardines.
Before we served up the marinated sardines in the bar we used them in the restaurant.
The Japanese name for Sardine Sushi is “Iwashi”. This is where the idea for our dish originated.
Instead of serving the fillets on top of a pillow of rice as is common in sushi practice, we served them on a bed of vinegared rice, which in turn is sitting happily on a mattress of nori.
Alongside the sardines are Sriracha Mayo with Paprika Chips and Pickled Beetroot.
The marinade for these sardines are a little different from our Spanish recipe, Sherry Vinegar is replaced with Rice Vinegar and Olive Oil is replaced with Ginger Oil. The fish is only marinaded for a few minutes, this way the inside retains its “raw” texture and is not “overcooked” in the marinade.
Back at home something is bubbling.
“Bubbling” is not really the right word. “Fermenting” is what is happening.
In hindsight I should have taken a photo of what it looked like before the fermentation process had started.
What looks like a Cappuccino on steroids is in fact my Stout. This healthy fermentation should hopefully produce a wonderful silky Stout which will be great served chilled on those long warm nights that we are looking forward to.
Cheers. :biggrin: .