What did we cook: Serendipitous Sardines

I don’t often happen across sardines both fresh enough to tempt me and small enough to fry, but these factors conflated on Sunday at Whole Foods Tustin, answering the question I’d been pondering since leaving the Great Park Farmers Market a few minutes earlier: WHAT to serve with yet another (now post-) summer burrata Caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from the garden, and a platter of ruffled thin-sliced prosciutto next to dead-ripe cantaloupe and a few Adriatic figs from our little tree.

Pacific sardines are loaded with healthful Omega-3 oil, and are a “Best Choice” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list. Dredged in flour, dipped in milk, and back into the flour before a brief frying, the only seasoning needed is a bit of freshly-ground black pepper, a shower of sea salt, and a ton of fresh lemon squeezed over. Slightly larger specimens are fabulous grilled, wrapped in grape or fig leaves, if you’ve got either.

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