Last month I learnt how to cook with first fresh sardines. I bought them because I found out that they were one of the most nutritious and sustainable seafood out there. Sardines are full of healthy fats, their soft edible bones are full of minerals, and since they are lower on the food chain they are also low in mercury. They are sustainable because they are not overfished, and they have very little by-catch. And, they are cheap. It cost me $7.50 for a kilo at the Prahran market. I could have gotten them cheaper for $6.00 at the next stall where it was already gutted and cleaned but they were not the first ones I saw, and as a result I had to learn how to gut and clean a sardine.
I have to be honest, learning to clean and gut a whole kilogram of sardines was not a clean process. Below is a video of me doing it all over again the next day to take to some sardines to a barbecue. (Why? Because I thought it was good idea to share my new found love of barbecued sardines. Apparently, fishes with their heads still on are not so popular at parties. Lesson learnt! Sometimes, I forget how weird I am, but, who wants to be normal right?)
Next time I should be be better with the whole cleaning and gutting process. Practice makes perfect. Or, I could buy the cheaper already cut and cleaned ones. Decisions, decisions. Even though, learning to gut sardines was definitely not easy, the end result was well worth it. I didn't know how good they could taste!
After my terrible job of cleaning them, the sardines were lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, some lemon juice and drizzled with olive oil. They were then roasted under the grill for four minutes. They are done when they start sizzling. You can technically eat them raw because good quality sardines are served raw for a sashimi platter, so don't worry if they are slightly undercooked.
Once they were done, I had them with a salad. And, they tasted unexpectedly good! I wasn't expecting the taste to be that good, because most white fish don't have that much flavour, but these sardines were so flavourful and fresh tasting. If you are feeling adventurous this weekend and you have never had fresh sardines before, go out and get some fresh sardines and make a day out of it- it's well worth it.
With love and simplicity,
P.S. Me and Ines, my lovely housemate/best friend, have started Youtube channel called Nyamka and Ines Cooks. That's where this sardine gutting fail video is from. I am the one with the knife, and she is recording me. We plan to do less grizzly recipe videos in the future. If you want to watch normal people like us cooking, please subscribe to it.
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