Sardines

This past weekend I introduced my new roomies to French cooking classes! We went to one of the free courses that I mentioned in an earlier post, and it happened to be at the market around the corner. The class was actually overbooked so we worked in pairs, and I’m so grateful!

Now since I moved to France, my food pallette has expanded incredibly but not quite enough. At this cooking class we made Brushcetta with SARDINES! I nearly thought I was going to throw up when we started to cut them open. Fortunately, my lovely teammate Beth was willing to literally do ‘the dirty work.’

Although I still can’t say I’ll ever buy sardines, the Bruschetta was incredible! I’ll definitely make this again… peut être without the sardines…

Bruschetta avec Sardines

Bread/ Pain (Each slice about 3/4 inch thick)

Olive Oil/ Huile d’olive

Tomatoes/ Tomates

Grated Parmesan/Fromage Parmesan

Black Olives/Olives Noires

Red Onions/Oignons Rouges

Salt and Pepper/ Sel et Poivre (to taste)

This recipe isn’t too hard, but it takes some time. The first thing we did was grill the bread on a stove top. Just a little olive oil in your pan, and flip your bread when it looks a little dark on each side.

Next cut your onions as thin as possible. A trick I learned from a previous class is to cut off the top of the onion, but leave the root side (bottom) on while you’re cutting. This will keep all the layers together while you’re cutting, especially when you get close to the end. After you snip off the top, cut a flat base on the side of the onion so it rests flat on your cutting board.

Next cut the tomatoes into slices, and remove from the skin. This part was a little nerve-wrecking for us to do in front of the chef! Just keep even pressure on your knife and as close as possible to the skin. Once you’ve separated it, throw out the skin and dice the remaining. It should look pretty similar to the diced pieces of tomatoes you see in salsa.

The worst part was the actual cutting of the Sardine. If you’re in America, I’m not certain how easy it is to find fresh Sardines, so you might just get out of this. I think the bruschetta would taste good with another white fish, or without fish entirely. But if you’re game, here’s how you prepare the Sardine:

Make sure your knife is well-sharpened so you only have to do this once… okay so first you need to cut off the head. It will bleed some, so if you’ve got a weak stomach like me, find someone else to do this for you (aka sweet, sweet Beth).

Next you’re going to cut the belly of the fish, from top to bottom, cutting deep enough to open the fish flat afterwards. (I’ll spare you the pictures of this step.) After you open the fish, remove the entire spine. It should come out in one piece.

Now all you have to do is cook your sardine skin-down on a pan with oil! After a few minutes, the skin (I guess I should be saying ‘the scales??’) will peal off really easily, so you’ll know it’s done. Take it out of the pan, remove the skin, and lay each half on one slice of bread. Finish it off with sprinkling the olives, red onions, roasted tomatoes, salt and pepper, and some freshly grated parmesan on your bruschetta. And you’re done! It does take some time to prep the fish, but it tastes delicious! Who would have ever thought I would say that about something with sardines??

Photos courtesy of Beth Krueger

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