Sen­sa­tional sar­dines

Aside from mak­ing a healthy meal, they are de­li­cious and easy to pre­pare, writes David Ta­nis

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - GOOD CATCH -

Most im­por­tant, they are ex­tremely de­li­cious.

SIM­PLE GRILLED SAR­DINES

30 min­utes

8 fresh sar­dines, cleaned and scaled

Salt and pep­per

Ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

2 medium fen­nel bulbs, trimmed and very finely sliced

Lemon wedges

2 ta­ble­spoons chopped pars­ley, for gar­nish

Serves 4

Step 1: Pre­pare a medium-hot char­coal fire or stove­top grill pan.

Step 2: Sea­son sar­dines in­side and out with salt and pep­per and paint both sides lightly with olive oil.

Step 3: Lay sar­dines on the grill and cook them on one side for about 2 min­utes, un­til nicely browned (sar­dines rarely stick to the grill). Care­fully flip sar­dines and cook for about 2 min­utes more, un­til just done.

Step 4: Trans­fer each por­tion to in­di­vid­ual plates. Put the sliced fen­nel in a bowl and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Dress with about 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Place a pile of dressed fen­nel evenly on each plate. Serve with lemon wedges and a sprin­kle of pars­ley.

In June, I was in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, for the Feast of St. An­thony, tra­di­tion­ally the open­ing of sar­dine sea­son there.

In Alfama, an old part of town, a huge street fair her­alds its ar­rival, and grills are set up on ev­ery cor­ner.

With the sar­dines, most peo­ple drank cold lager. But if you pre­fer wine, you have great op­tions.

Man­zanilla sherry would be won­der­ful. So would many cold, dry white wines, espe­cially from seafood ar­eas.

The key is crisp acid­ity, which cuts through the oili­ness of the fish. A good sau­vi­gnon blanc would also be nice. – New York Times

Grilled sar­dines on a fig leaf, served with a sim­ple sliced fen­nel salad.

Pic­ture: New York Times

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