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Old 09-14-2006, 02:01 AM   #21
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Fresh sardines: unbeatable. Grilled, topped with a mix of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, then some fresh rosemary. Pan fried are wonderful too, but then it's vinegar.

Canned sardines? Can anybody get canned in coarse salt? Similar to your anchovies, I think. If you have a Greek grocery store nearby, try to get the "Kalonis" ones (from the Gulf of Kaloni on the island of Lesvos) since they're considered the best.

They keep forever in salt but when you want to eat them you rinse them under running water, at the same time removing the spine to leave a tender little butterflied fillet. Lay out a few on a plate and drizzle plenty of olive oil over the top and some vinegar. You can eat them that way as part of "meze" and/or they are absolutely perfect when you eat legumes ... a little bite of a lemony chickpea soup together with a bite of sardine is perfect!

The canned-in-oil ones are good, but entirely different. They make an easy office lunch, for instance. However, eating the spine?! Why would you want to do that? It's so easy to remove and it's far, far nicer without (just squeeze the fish top to bottom and it will easily separate into two fillets. Pull the spine out, zip, scrape away any extra intestiney, scaley, spiney goop -- voila!
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Old 09-14-2006, 07:59 AM   #22
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Do the canned sardines have a head and tail on them? Do you eat that as well?
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:17 AM   #23
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Tail, most likely. Head, I don't think so. Ditto with the salted ones. Nor guts, not that you asked.

Fresh of course have the lot but, no, you wouldn't eat the head. The tail you would though -- it's pretty innocuous. Cleaning fresh involves grasping the fish in your left hand and a little, flexible paring knife in your right, put the knife at what you'd imagine to be the nape of the fish's head and squeeze the fish between the knife and your thumb. When the knife reaches your thumb, pull a bit downward toward the fish's belly. The head and intestines should all come out in one neat, quick movement that will take you about 5 seconds.

What type(s) can you get ahold of in Massachusetts, GB?
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:33 AM   #24
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Honestly I do not know what types are around here Ayrton. I have seen tins in the supermarket, but never paid attention. We do have a large Portugese community here (my FIL is Portugese) so I am guessing we could get fresh with just a little looking.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:42 AM   #25
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You know, they're almost apples and oranges, fresh and canned. Very different.

Meaning, try to get ahold of any and all types you can get ahold of and see what you think (and get back to us!).

If you can get fresh, bigger ones are a bit easier to handle than smaller ones (6" versus 4" let's say) but perhaps you won't have a choice. DO ask someone Portugese ... or Greek, or Spanish.

If you can find fresh easily, I'll give you a couple of other wonderful ways to deal with them. My hubby does a salt cure /vinegar bath procedure, adding in whole allspice berries, bay leaves, and thin-sliced onions that produces THE most wonderful, tender, white fillets that pop down very easily after work accompanied by an ice-cold vodka ...
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:46 AM   #26
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Thanks! I plan on getting some tonight (canned). The fresh will need to wait until I have time as that will take some research and some driving.
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:04 AM   #27
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I still vote for cleaning the canned ones a wee bit ... spine and goop.

Then lay them out and accompany with something fresh and cool and crisp (I like cucumber) and a nice cracker (didn't someone suggest a Triscuit and cream cheese? could do worse!). A bit of wine or some other mild, cool alcohol of choice.

If you can get the spicy ones with a little hot pepper tucked in the can, and you're into that sort of thing ... smash the pepper on top. Yum!
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Old 09-14-2006, 11:04 AM   #28
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I saw some at the market the other day that were packaged in a vinegar solution. They were white and listed as sardines..Anyone seen these or know anything about them? Pricey little things but looked beautiful.

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Old 09-14-2006, 11:20 AM   #29
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I never cared for sardines out of tins, so I had my mind set on "I don't like sardines, period" for most of my life. However earlier this year Cristiano finally convinced me to try the fresh one. They are available at the nearby market for something like 2 a kilo (slightly more than 2lb), though it took him quite a long time to clean each and every one of them, he made them into a gorgeous sardines au gratin, baked with plenty of bread crumbs, parmigiano and flat leaved parsley. It definitely changed my opinion about sardines for good!
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Old 09-14-2006, 11:22 AM   #30
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GB, if you live in or near Boston or Cambridge, there is a wonderful Portuguese fish market on Cambridge Street in Cambridge. They have fresh sardines, and lots of other great treats.
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