Sardeles Marinates is part of my daily summer lunch, accompanying any vegetables, beans, rice or pasta I cook. Sometimes it is even the centerpiece. I enjoy the sardines with slices of my bread – toasted if it is more than a day old – and of course with a large tomato, onion, and caper salad.
I never get tired of them, and one of the beauties of home-marinated sardines is that they keep for a week or more in the refrigerator, so I don’t have to make them often.
Unfortunately your marinated fish will be as good as your raw ingredients and no better. You need good, fresh sardines, anchovies or small fresh mackerel fillets in order to make the dish, as it is a kind of Mediterranean cevice, one that Italians call Pesce Sarde Marinato. Renown French chef Guy Gedda (most of his books are in French only) in his recipe for the Provençale Anchois Persillade, marinates the anchovies with olive oil, plenty of finely chopped fresh parsley and garlic, and some, but not a lot of salt. Interestingly he uses neither lemon nor vinegar. He notes that these home-marinated sardines are the base for the traditional anchoyade, a sauce made by mashing the parsley-garlic sardines into a paste, adding a bit more parsley, garlic and salt, as well as ‘some drops of lemon.’ Anchoyade is the sauce used to accompany slices of boiled meat in the traditional Crouchoun à L’anchouiado, he writes –a dish that reminds me of the Italian Vitello tonnato.
Use my recipe for marinating the oily fish as a base, adding your favorite herbs or substituting scallions for the garlic. Let the fish ‘cook’ in the marinade for a few hours or overnight, or even better make it a full day in advance.
Incidentally the humble sardines and anchovies are among the healthiest fish one can eat; they have lots of Omega-3 and Vitamin D, with far less Mercury than larger fish. But for me this is just a bonus, since I eat my sardines because I adore their absolutely wonderful, fresh taste!
Serve on slices of crusty or toasted bread, as part of a meze spread, or take my lead and serve as main course, complementing greens, vegetables, beans or grain dishes – Sardeles Marinates is extremely versatile and easy to pair.
See the recipe: Marinated Sardines, Anchovies or Mackerel Fillets