Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sardines on Toast

When is a sardine not a sardine? When it is a pilchard. A sardine is a young pilchard. Apparently once a sardine reaches one year it becomes a pilchard. But who really wants to eat pilchards. So uncool.
Many years a go, pilchard sales were at a record low, so some bright spark did the spin of all spins. Even Blair’s Government would have been proud of this. They Renamed and rebranded an unpopular fish to become something that before was so untrendy and only fit for cat food into a very cool and trendy fish, that it now graces the menus of all the best restaurants in the land. So was born the Cornish Sardine. So cool.
So how best to eat this super cool fish. Simply is how.
For a quick and easy mid week supper, what can beat pan fried sardines on lightly toasted sourdough bread. I’ll tell you what. Nothing.

Filleting sardines is a bit of fiddly job, but with patience it is easily done, or some fishmongers do sell them already filleted. Which does make life a tad easier.
Putting those little seasoned fillets skin side down into a hot pan and watch them as they cook, the smell is amazing and so fishy. The belly begins to rumble and yearn for this treat long before they are ready. Then flipping them over to cook the pink flesh on the other side, you know that in a short while you will be munching on a delight.
A scattering of chopped parsley only brings out the best in these little oily fishes. Heaven pure heaven as you bite into this open sandwich and chow down on that delightful fish. It’s amazing that it is so unpopular compared with other fishes, but boy is it good for you and tastes fantastic.


London Chow said...

Ah.. just had sardines at Cantina del Ponte this afternoon. Was rather irritated at the sardines' tiny bones. Then again, I should have expected that isn't it? Do you have the same issue with pilchard?

Michelle Peters - Jones said...

Ah, see now you've just found my little secret addiction. I love sardines on toast, even better if they're tinned sardine's in oil... Ihave to try them fresh though, I can imagine a ton of difference in the taste and freshness.

The Grubworm said...

Oh, i do love a Sardine, Cornish or otherwise. Fresh or from a tin, their oily dark flesh is full of flavour and is a brilliant match for sweet-sharp cherry tomatoes.

As for filleting, if you open them out, place belly down on a board and press firmly to flatten. You should then be able to to flip them over and just pull the bones out in one go by the spine. Much easier than doing anything with a knife.

Mzungu said...

LC - Yeah those tiny bones are a pain, but it's something we have to live with unfortunately.

Michelle - I've never been a big fan of tinned fish, it's the smell that puts me off.

Grubworm - I always seem to pull to much flesh off that way. I'm a bit heavy handed I guess.