Posts Tagged ‘Sainsbury’

Sometimes I just don’t have the guts to deal with whole fish.  I’ve never wholly regained my bravado since the Saturday in 2002 when my kind and thoughtful brother, on the way home from his job delivering spanking fresh fish to temples of gastronomy The River Café, J. Sheekey, Moro, Gordon Ramsay, The Ivy et al, dropped off a sackful of spare sardines.  Ruth & Rosie’s over-orders were my manna from heaven, except this day was a hot one and I was out being a chef myself until late afternoon …

…so by the time I returned home the piscine contents of the black bin liner had settled on my doorstep and dripped a disconcertingly fishy – in every sense – trail of blood into the house and across the floor.  With hindsight, continuing that trail straight out the back door and into the wastebin might have been wise but instead, Mr T and I, thrilled by the sight of such bounty, seized a filleting knife and set to our very own kitchen sink mattanza.  And as with all gore-fests, somewhere around the 23rd gutted sardine, queasy from the carnage and unable to meet the gaze of any more bloodshot eyes, we lost our mutual appetite, decided to double-wrap it up and dispose of the entire bundle where it should have gone in the first place, feigning nonchalance as net curtains twitched.

Ever since I’ve been happy to pay a professional to clean, cut and cook their delicious little bodies on my behalf.  Until just last week that is, when awaiting my turn at the Sainsbury’s what should I spy gliding atop the neighbouring checkout but a neat little package of eight headless and gutted Cornish somethings beginning with s.  At £1.89 a pop I went for it and they turned out pretty good, in a land-lubber kind of way.
sardines from Sainsbury\'s
I hesitate to call this a recipe as all I did was grind a tablespoon or so of fennel seeds with a couple of chilli peppers, zest half a lemon and toss the sardines with them all in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil to lubricate.  Set that lot aside while the barbecue warmed up and then grilled for 5 minutes each side.  I might have stuffed them with fennel or some such, but this time we enjoyed them with just a wedge of lemon – don’t want to overdo it…
Sardines grilled with chilli, fennel and lemon zest

Of course they weren’t a patch on fresh from the sea, but you don’t get those every day…

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