I’ve always enjoyed canned sardines (see my post from May 10) but I’ve never had fresh ones. As you might imagine, here in DC, fresh sardines aren’t something you can just pick up at Safeway; they take some searching for. I found mine at Blacksalt Fish Market and Restaurant in the Foxhall neighborhood (http://www.blacksaltrestaurant.com/). Blacksalt is great. They sell only sustainability managed fish and shellfish. Also I have to give them an A+ for customer service. When I was there, they didn’t have sardines in the display case. When I asked when they might have sardines, the monger confided that they did have some in the restaurant’s refrigerator and if I didn’t need too many, he’d be willing to sell me a few. Score! I only needed six.
Sardines are very affordable. My pretty, little fishies only set me back 7-bucks and some change, though I did have to cut the heads off myself (weird!). I used a very simple recipe; marinating them in a little lemon juice, parsley and olive oil then a few minutes on the grill. I served them on a bed of arugula and a cucumber/watermelon salad (made extra marinade to use as salad dressing). In the interest of full disclosure, there were lots of little fish bones to deal with. However, the sardines were really delicious.
6 medium whole fresh sardines, gutted, rinsed inside and out, and patted dry
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
•1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
1. In a large glass bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss the sardines in the marinade coating them well inside and out. Let sit for about 20-minutes.
2. Heat a grill to a medium-high heat (you can also use a grill pan indoors). Coat the grill with cooking spray. Grill sardines until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with a salad and lemon wedges.