I just bought some sardines on a bit of a whim, and then didn't really know what to do with them. Moments like these, I usually turn to a handful of cook books. Whilst my office is packed to the brim with recipes and books, there are some that I return to time and time again. The Moro books are a constant source of inspiration, and so this is where I found the guide lines for tonight's supper. The recipe appealed to me because I love the combination of fish and vinegar - roll mops and boquerones are two of my all time favourites, mostly because of their hangover soothing qualities. Try either of these on buttery toast and you will feel whole again!
6 Sardines, gutted and scaled
some gram flour (because that's all I had)
2 tbsp olive oil
80ml red wine vinegar
1 fresh bay leaf
some dried thyme, on the stick
1 tsp of green pepper corns
1 dried chilli
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 head of dill flowers (off my gone-to-seed-dill plant)
a generous pinch of salt
a generous pinch of sugar
1/2 a red pepper, very finely sliced
1/2 an onion, very finely sliced
2 tsp capers in vinegar
Pat dry the sardines and then dust with the flour. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then fry the fishes until they are golden. This will be about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a shallow serving dish.
Using the same pan, place on a medium heat and add the vinegar, and then in close succession, the bay leaf, thyme, the pepper corns, chilli, fennel seeds, dill and sugar and salt. It will simmer and the delicious sharp flavours should slightly catch the back of your throat. Now add the finely sliced pepper and onion and simmer for a few minutes to soften but not totally cook. Immediately pour the mix over the sardines, and then scatter over the capers (another of my favourite vinegar related ingredients). Leave this to sit for a few hours before serving. It's good to note that Sam and Sam Clarke, of Moro, recommended leaving this to melge for up to 48 hours. I'm too hungry though, so haven't got the patience for that!