Monday, 23 January 2012

Aloha again!

Those of you who read my last post attentively, and can do very basic maths, will have noted that our meal of pasta con le sarde left us with 3 sardines (or, possibly, ‘aloha’ – Alohas? Alohi?).  These were fresh enough, and pretty enough that I really wanted to keep them in as near to their natural state as possible, so I decided not to cook them, but to just lightly cure them.  I simply filleted them, and marinaded the fillets, for a day, in the juice of one orange and one lemon, with the zest of each, some finely sliced red onion, a fresh bayleaf and a handful of torn parsley leaves (coriander would work well, if you have it), a sprinkling of mustard and fennel seeds, a few peppercorns a little salt and a glug of olive oil. 

Come the evening, I boiled up some new potatoes and made a warm salad of the fish, potato, chicory, celery and capers, with the onion from the marinade. I shook the orange and lemon juice from the marinade up with some olive oil to make a dressing and poured it over.  It was a delicious and, I have to say, rather beautiful dish.

Because, as I’ve said, this fish was so very fresh and pretty, and because the fillets were, if big by sardine standards, still small, I chose to cold marinade on this occasion, so the fish was only lightly cured, even after a whole day in citrus juice.  If you prefer your cured fish to a bit more ‘cooked’, and a bit less sushi-y, you can either up the acidity of the marinade with wine or sherry vinegar, or simply put your marinade together in a pan, heat it up and pour it over the fish hot – as in my previously written up version – done then with herring but equally applicable to sardines, mackerel, sea bass – whatever firm fleshed fish looks freshest on the fishmonger’s slab, really.

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