Fresh sardines napa style

Sardines are managed under the coastal pelagic species fishery management plan. Sardines have been deemed a “nutritional powerhouse” rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other nutrients. Fresh local sardines can be purchased from local seafood stores and also from some Asian grocery stores, like Uwajimaya. When buying fresh sardines, conduct the “clock test” to assess the level of freshness: 1) grasp the sardine by the head; 2) allow it to flop to one side, and; 3) relate the angle of the fish to a clock. While a firm sardine with a 12 o’clock reading is ideal, an angle between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock is acceptable.

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh sardines
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Directions

Prepare the sardines by removing the heads and back bones. Rinse and pat dry. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the sardines a few at a time until brown and crispy. Remove to a large serving plate, and keep warm.

In another skillet over medium heat, heat a bit of the oil. Add garlic, and cook for about half a minute. Add the wine and vinegar, and allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally.

When the liquid has reduced by about half, pour the sauce over the sardines, and sprinkle with fresh mint. Let stand for about one hour before serving to allow the fish to marinate. Enjoy.

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