No, 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…
I 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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