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Sautéed Sardines with Fennel, Olive and Mint Salad
Sustainable Seafood Recipe
In this robustly flavored dish, sardines are quickly sautéed until golden and crisp, then paired with a mustardy salad for a lovely lunch or light supper. Serve with lots of crusty bread, and for dessert, a juicy nectarine and blackberry crisp.
Wild-caught sardines from the U.S. are a "Best Choice
- (Serves 2)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crusted
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
- 6 whole sardines (about 9 ounces total), scaled and cleaned
Combine the mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of oil. Mix in the olives, mint and fennel seeds. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Place the fennel in a medium bowl. Add half the dressing and toss to coat.
Brush the sardines with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, turning to coat well. Coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil and warm over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the sardines, in batches if necessary (do not crowd), and cook until browned and just opaque in the center when pierced with a small, sharp knife, about 2 minutes on each side.
Divide the salad between 2 plates. Arrange 3 sardines on each place. Spoon the remaining sauce over the sardines and serve.
Hints from the Chef
- To remove the fine scales from a sardine, run the fish under cold water while scraping lightly toward the head with the edge of a small knife.
- To clean a sardine, cut the belly open and remove the insides with a spoon. Or, ask the fishmonger to clean it for you.
Kristine Kidd, Monterey Bay Aquarium Food Editor
Wild-caught sardines from the U.S. are a "Best Choice."
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