Monday, February 16, 2009

For the love of... Sardines

I have recently been exploring the joys of sardines with a foodie friend of mine. So far we have explored the delights of fresh, canned, and aged canned sardines.

Fresh Sardines
I have purchased fresh
Portuguese sardines a couple of times from the Citarella's on the upper west side in New York - here they will prepare (read gut) them for you which makes life very easy. Preparing fresh sardines is a cinch - dust them with some flour and season with salt and pepper. Then pan fry them in olive oil. When they are golden on both sides, remove from the pan and serve with a wedge of lemon and a nice hunch of bread. They are easy to fillet and the taste is just magnificent. Pair with a nice crisp white wine (Spanish or Italian are perfect). Most recently I had them with a Do Ferreiro 2006 Rebisaca from Rias Baixas which has a lovely salinity, minerality, and leaness that matches perfectly with the sardines.


Canned Sardines
Canned sardines are the perfect little snack or hors d'oeuvres and they are also very cheap. As with most products, some are better than others and the best are stored in olive oil. I would steer clear of any fish canned in water. We are still wor
king out way through all the cans we can find, but may favorite two so far are: Matiz and Connetable. I just keep it simple serving canned sardines - open the can and put the sardines and oil in a bowl - and serve with salt, lemon, bread on the side. Again - pair with a nice crisp, lean white wine - what a great combination. Connetable sells vintage (read aged) sardines that are more expensive ($10.99 rather than $2.99) and the taste is more delicate and rounded than the non-vintage sardines. In New York, I have found the best selections at Balducci's although I am looking forward to heading to Despana to check out there selection.

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