Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fresh Sardines

I promised you our worst meal ever...and here it is! I think the worst-ness is a combination of a bad meal and a lot of anticipation. I've been hearing about the wonders of fresh sardines for ages, and when a customer recently asked if I could get them, I was willing to split a case with him. These were 36 hours from ocean to table, so they were fresh. Using some online tutelage, here are the steps I followed. WARNING - MANY PICTURES AND SOME ARE GRAPHIC

The box arrived right on schedule:

and now you know how to reach me at the store - I'm just a phone call away!

Here are the mound of shy fish

They were about 8" long as you can tell by the knife. Because they were being shy, I figured I would just take off their heads to teach them a lesson.

They didn't care so much for that.

Tyler didn't care so much for that either. Next, I ran a slit down their bellies and removed the innards.

A quick rinse and some work on the scales.

I then layed them flat and belly down on the board, ran my thumb across their spines which releases the bones. You can then fairly easily zip the skeleton out from the meat. I layed one down for a pic.

A good dash of salt and pepper

And onto the grill with ye!

Now let me pause. I spent nearly 90 minutes processing these little guys. I gave my appreciation for their lives and was thankful for all of the people who have told me how great fresh, grilled sardines are. These weren't cheap since we are landlocked, but it was a price I was willing to pay for the right and opportunity. The anticipation built for nearly a month...and now was the moment of truth!

The only thing that was worse than this picture was the food itself. Despite my 90 minutes of processing, none of us could get a bite of sardine that wasn't full of bone or scale. Tyler tried one bite and stopped. Our friend Bill couldn't even get past the first bite. And I, your courageous sojourner, was able to eat three bites thinking, "maybe this one will be better." But we were okay, Tyler had made a great orzo salad to go with this...we thought until we tried the salad..."hmmm...lacking in any form of flavor whatsoever." Well, you can never go wrong with dessert right? And our friend has only one claim to fame - creme brulèe. He curdled the milk. Nuff said. Worst meal ever.


Manggy said...

Oh... no. Sorry to hear that. I would suggest that if the bones and scales really turn you off, you can just pressure-cook the rest into Spanish sardines, but then you'd probably feel as though that's a waste of fresh sardines (as you can probably easily get them canned like that)! But hey, at least you get to choose the oil and spices. My seafood handbook says that supposedly once cooked the bones are soft and safe to eat. I guess these were more mature?

Nice that you were honest about the rest of the meal too :P

Vegetation said...

Oh dear, sorry the meal was such a flop! I've had far too many nights of eating toast for dinner to not empathize.

Anonymous said...

Sucks that the meal didn't turn out, but..

you should have known that sardines have a ton of very small pinbones that are very soft and yes, they ARE edible.

The only bones that are easily removable are the rib cage bones(when cooked or uncooked). If you don't like the pinbones in sardines, don't eat them.

Matthew said...

you spilled all their guts out into the flesh, you should have used lighter hand when you split them open. Same principle as a large animal, the shit and piss will ruin the flesh.

Ayr-onn said...

most people cant deal with the bones at first.... heres a simple way to enjoy them for someone who is new to this fish. Gut them, scale them, remove their head if desired and then fry them. Frying them till they are well done and pretty crispy will cook the bones to the point that they won't be a problem.... dont give up on them yet !!!