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Old 04-17-2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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How to eat sardines?

Hello Everyone. I have never cooked or eaten fresh sardines and I am wondering about how to actually eat them, especially with the bones in. I am thinking of grilling them and I wondered if you can eat the bones or whether I should scrape the flesh from the bones?

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Old 04-17-2016, 09:49 AM   #2
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If you like Sardines, you can eat them almost any way. I eat the bones. Just chew them down. Normally, I just eat them in a sandwich with onions and mayo but there are many ways to enjoy them...13 Things to Do With Canned Sardines - Chowhound
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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I am planning on cooking them fresh though. I wondered if canning softens the bones. If I buy them fresh from the fishmonger and grill them, I am unsure if the bones will be as soft.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:50 AM   #4
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There were fresh sardines in the Cora in France but never got around to buying any. I googled recipes and the first one looked at was NY Times recipe and one I'd do. One flakes the meat away from the skeleton like a trout. I've not seen fresh sardines in the Pac NW but will ask the fishmonger next time I go.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:07 AM   #5
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I had them in Italy once as part of a frutti di mare tower. They were whole, battered very lightly in a tempura-like batter and fried. Don't remember that meal very fondly or frankly very much at all because I got a killer migraine very, very shortly after dinner.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:21 AM   #6
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Hello Everyone. I have never cooked or eaten fresh sardines and I am wondering about how to actually eat them, especially with the bones in. I am thinking of grilling them and I wondered if you can eat the bones or whether I should scrape the flesh from the bones?
The ones in the can are usually very small and the bones haven't fully developed, so the full fish is edible. You can't eat the bones of full grown fresh sardines, though. Here are several methods for cleaning them. I prefer methods 2 and 3 myself for most kinds of fresh fish. I've never done a butterfly cut like the last example shows, but go for it if you're comfortable.

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Old 04-17-2016, 11:51 AM   #7
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We had them in a wonderful outdoor cafe in Portugal. We enjoyed them very much and yes, you need to bone them if they've been cooked whole. I'm good at doing that so I boned them at the table for both of us. My husband, SousChef will post a picture of the meal.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:55 AM   #8
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Sardines in Portugal

The cafe was quite a find, as we met an expatriate who said it was the best restaurant in town.
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:07 PM   #9
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The ones in the can are usually very small and the bones haven't fully developed, so the full fish is edible. You can't eat the bones of full grown fresh sardines, though. Here are several methods for cleaning them. I prefer methods 2 and 3 myself for most kinds of fresh fish. I've never done a butterfly cut like the last example shows, but go for it if you're comfortable.

I had a landlady that just loved fresh sardines. She just didn't like to clean them. She would buy a big sack of them and bring them to me to clean and filet. I used methods two and three. If there were really a lot, I would just cut the heads and tails off. Then split and but. Depending on the size of them. The one thing she did do before I got them was to scrape off all the scales. But I did have to show her how. She watched me the first time. When it came to gutting them, she headed for my bathroom right quick.

My husband also loved sardines and he is the one who taught me how to clean and filet them.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:36 PM   #10
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I have only had them fried on Christmas Eve. The best ones I've had were dusted in seasoned pancake flour and shallow fried in a wide deep frying pan until they were golden and crisp. I didn't eat the bones. When the sardine is fried you can use your fork to fillet the sardine as you eat it.

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Old 04-18-2016, 06:00 AM   #11
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Olive oil, lemon juice and cooked whole on the grill. They should have been cleaned out by the fishermen or monger. The filets should come easily off the bone and the skin should come right off.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:52 AM   #12
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I have never seen them gutted and fileted. Only whole and it's a 'do it yourself' deal.
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:15 AM   #13
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I have never seen them gutted and fileted. Only whole and it's a 'do it yourself' deal.
I would find a new source if the place you get them doesn't offer them gutted. Not gutting fish is asking for fast decomp. I also said cooked whole. Of course, if you get them directly off the boat, then I understand.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:01 AM   #14
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We have IQF sardines in our local market at holiday time.

They are sold whole and cleaned, not filleted, by size like shrimp 8/12, 15/20, 20/25 etc...
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Old 04-18-2016, 11:53 AM   #15
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I would find a new source if the place you get them doesn't offer them gutted. Not gutting fish is asking for fast decomp. I also said cooked whole. Of course, if you get them directly off the boat, then I understand.
The boats that catch sardines are the only ones allowed to sell their catch right off the boat. And the fishing pier is right in the heart of town.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:43 PM   #16
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The sardines must be bought and eaten same day, preferably bought from the fishing boat that brought them in.

Holding the fish rightway up in the palm of your hand, prise the head off gently by squeezing the top of the head downwards. Turn the fish stomach upwards, and prise the head and bones away from the flesh with your finger towards the tail end. Open the fish like a book, flesh up. They are now ready to be rinsed and cooked. I like them done very simply dipped in milk then seasoned flour and fried very quickly in oil. For this I use 50% best quality olive oil and 50 % best sunflower oil. They cook very quickly. Have lemon wedges handy. I usually dish them up with a simple mediterranean salad - mixed salad with olives and vinaigrette. Heaven!

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Old 04-18-2016, 12:45 PM   #17
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Oops, I failed to say, when you turn the fish stomach upwards, make a slit down the belly so that you can remove the head and bones!
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:33 PM   #18
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I was born and raised in Hawaii.
Canned sardines are HUGE!
... and canned meats too
This is how we do it:
In a large bowl,
place two scoops of hot steamed white (or brown if you must) Rice
Open and drain one (or two) cans of Sardines,
depending on how hungry you are
Top with diced Sweet White Onions (Sweet Maui Onions);
Furikake
and Aloha Brand Shoyu

This is the "deluxe" version, some folks stick with
simply hot rice and sardines.

As to how to enjoy them, eat bones and all!

This is my American-Italian-Born-in-PA husband's FAVORITE lunch,
believe it or not. My Dad taught him how to make his own lunch.
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:45 PM   #19
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Thanks for the tips, everyone! I'm on a bit of a fish obsession at the moment, so I will take your advice into account and get cooking
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:59 PM   #20
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Thanks for the tips, everyone! I'm on a bit of a fish obsession at the moment, so I will take your advice into account and get cooking
Have fun with that, post the recipe and how they tasted. I'd love to find fresh sardines and do the lemon recipe.
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