Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Marinated Sardines


Lindos is a very beautiful old town of sugar lump-shaped white houses over-looked by an acropolis, on the coast of Rhodes. For more than seventy years, a restaurant called Mavrikos has been in the same family, set to the side of a busy square, and is now run by brothers Mihalis and Dimitris. This dish was just one of many glorious things that we ate there; perfectly fresh fish marinated in orange and lemon zests, fragrant coriander seeds and a sprinkling of fiery chilli, served with the local speciality: pickled samphire.

Don’t be worried about butterflying sardines: it truly is simple.

3 sardines
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, or to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 orange, finely grated zest
1/2 lemon, finely grated zest
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To butterfly the sardines: remove the head with a sharp knife. Starting at the head end, make an incision along the belly of the fish – not all the way through, just enough to break the skin – and allow the flesh to open up. Gently but firmly, pull out the guts and discard. Rinse the fish, then continue your incision down the fish to the tail, only allowing the knife to go as far as the spine. Snip the spine at this end with kitchen scissors. Working from the tail end, open up the fish like a book, and gently grasp the spine, leaving the tail intact. Pull the spine bones upwards, away from the flesh; most of the fine bones alongside it should come up and off, too.

Grind the chilli flakes (if using) and coriander seeds to a rough powder in a mortar and pestle.
Lay the sardines in a single layer in wide bowl, then scatter over the salt, the grated zests and the ground spices. Pour over the vinegar and turn the fish gently a couple of times to ensure they are well covered in marinade. Finally finish with the oil, using enough to cover the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Drain off some of the marinade before serving. Slice the fish into smaller pieces, if you like.

Source: The Islands of Greece by Rebecca Seal


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