French Fridays with Dorie: Sardine Escabeche

Sardines on eatlivetravelwrite.comNo, I mean really. You read the title right. Sardine escabeche. Even if you don’t know what escabeche is, if you read this blog on a regular basis, you’ll know that fish is not exactly my favourite food. And especially not fishy fish like sardines. Ew! But this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe – the SECOND LAST FISH RECIPE in the book – indeed called for sardines.  But it’s ok – I wasn’t going to be fazed by a scary fish in the final recipes of a book I have not missed a week cooking from since October 2010 –  I was confident that Mr Neil would take charge of this for me…

(An escabeche, by the way is, according to Dorie “a dish in which the sardines are first quickly sautéed and only partially cooked, and then drowned in hot aromatic oil and vinegar, a mixture that completes the cooking and pickles them, too.“)

Mr Neil procured said sardines from our local fishmonger – cleaned and gutted but not fileted. It seems that none of the Doristas were able to find a fishmonger who would filet their fish and after watching Neil do ours, I can see why. Fiddly little things!  After reading Dorie’s post, where she admits that she has a hard time I knew I would NOT be able to “deal” with the fish or even attempt this (also, the smell of the sardines for a non fish-lover like me can be very off-putting) so  Neil took charge (with a little help from Jamie Oliver). It did not look like the most fun ever, I have to say. Also, there were lots of FISH HEADS lurking around on my counter…. Ew!

Cleo taste tested some pieces of the sardine and she seemed very excited by the prospect of this dish. Meanwhile I quickly sautéed the tiny fillets (who knew that they would make the house smell so FISHY? For DAYS.), prepared the vegetables and hot oil mixture and let the whole lot rest in its oil bath in the fridge overnight…

Dorie Greenspan sardine escabeche on eatlivetravelwrite.comI know…. Not the most attractive but hey, that’s what it looked like. Not unlike the infamous salmon in a jar. Stuff in oil.

I left this for Neil to eat for dinner one night when I was out this week and he pronounced it “not bad” and “better than I expected”. He also claimed it didn’t taste fishy but I decided to take his word for it. Cooking your way through a book – noone says you have to EAT everything as well, right? 😉

Get one version of Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for sardine escabeche here or on page 188 of Around my French Table.

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27 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Sardine Escabeche

  1. Liz April 24, 2015 at 07:34 #

    I’m glad Cleo was impressed!!! I’m kind of glad I couldn’t find fresh sardines :/

  2. Mr. Neil April 24, 2015 at 09:17 #

    Cleo LOVES the sardine sashimi.

    As for the dish, I think I was more enthusiastic than “not bad”. I REALLY liked it. (I did say “better than expected”, yes….I had vague thoughts of salmon in a jar, which seemed like a waste of nice salmon at the time.) Spread over a baguette, this was a delicious light (late) dinner. Unfortunately for me, I had a bit of a (very nice) Chardonnay left over in the fridge, so had that. Not my ideal pairing…would have gone for something with more acid, more crisp. A Muscadet sur Lie or even a Chablis would have been my ideal…but as Cleo was my only dining partner, and it was late, I could not justify opening a whole new bottle for myself. 🙂

    (For Geoff in Oz, if you have P make this, go for a crisp Aussie Riesling; or better yet grab a bottle of your neighbours’ Sauvignon Blanc.)

    Cleo liked the cooked/brined version as well, though not quite as much as the sashimi. 😉

    • Geoff April 25, 2015 at 02:24 #

      Thanks Neil…. noted

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 20:37 #

      Cleo likes being the fishy dining partner!

  3. Kathy April 24, 2015 at 11:02 #

    Kudos to you Mardi, for getting this one done! I do understand why this one was left till the end! I was not so committed this week…I opted to do a make up instead. I chose to make the Cheez-it-ish crackers! Fabulous!

  4. Trevor April 24, 2015 at 12:24 #

    Sounds like Cleo is the most important opinion on this one! Kudos for not taking the shrimp option!

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 20:36 #

      Absolutely! (and I didn’t realise there was a bonne idée!!)

  5. Mary Hirsch April 24, 2015 at 13:40 #

    As I remember, Cleo is the cat, right. I see this as a Good, Better, Best dish for your family. Mardi – “Good” that it’s made, eaten and done; Neil – I’ve had “better”; and, Cleo – This is the “best” thing I’ve ever tasted. You’ve kept your String going, Mardi. That’s amazing.

  6. Diane Balch April 24, 2015 at 15:55 #

    You are so dedicated to sink up your house for this one (by the way beeswax candles really help with kitchen odor.) One more to go!

  7. KarenP April 24, 2015 at 20:38 #

    I’m happy to hear Mr. Neil and Cleo both enjoyed it! I had to eat this one myself, but I liked it too.

  8. Betsy April 24, 2015 at 20:45 #

    This one was very fishy. You’re a sport to live with the post-cooking odors for days. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t terrible. We’re almost there!

  9. Cakelaw April 24, 2015 at 20:46 #

    LOL – yep, it was a fairly unattractive dish to photograph. The shrimp version was more photogenic. Glad Mr Neil liked it.

  10. Nana April 26, 2015 at 11:36 #

    I have to give you loads of credit for this one, Mardi. It really does look good though. I used
    shrimp and loved it, each day it gets better. Last night I filled half an avocado with the
    mixture. Delicious.

  11. Rose April 26, 2015 at 12:29 #

    Thank goodness you have two willing fish-eaters (Cleo and Mr. Niel), otherwise it might have been a difficult week for you. I wasn’t too excited about the filleting work and was very happy that my husband took that bit over for me.

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 20:33 #

      Oh I would have done it and put out an email to my friends. I always have willing tasters for Dorie dishes!

  12. Diane Zwang April 26, 2015 at 15:07 #

    Could not agree with you more, Mardi. I am glad I skipped this one and don’t think I will be making it any time soon. I am happy with all my make-ups so far.

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 20:32 #

      Well I could hardly NOT make this so close to the end. I’m lucky I always have someone on hand to taste for me!

  13. EmilyC April 26, 2015 at 22:58 #

    That is a lot of sardines you had there! Good job, Mr Neil!

    My hubby do not eat most other fish (other than salmon) so three sardines were just right for me over two days! Great stuff on toast, for me!

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