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Fish of the month recipe for Sardine, European pilchard, sardines

Boquerones, using sardines

Boquerones, using sardines

Sardines – A wonderful semi firm white flesh but one that does not respond well to over cooking. A pleasant natural saltiness to the meat that requires careful further seasoning. They respond very well to cooking over charcoal or frying; with good flavour they respond well to many different global dishes. Perhaps this is why mother nature made them so widespread. They could be perhaps compared to herring and fresh anchovies and faint notes of mackerel.

Ingredients

6 sardines or pilchards, scaled, gutted and filleted
2½ generous teaspoons flaked sea salt
50ml white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
8 tablespoons good olive oil
black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 tablespoons finely sliced
flat-leaf parsley
good bread, to serve
 

Serves Serves 3 to 4 as a pre-dinner snack

Preparation

Lay the sardine fillets skin-side down in a shallow flat-based dish and scatter the salt evenly all over them. Pour over the vinegar and lemon juice. Turn the fillets over so that the skin is now facing up. Cover the sardines and leave them like this for 2 hours in the fridge. 

 

Briefly rinse the fillets under a cold tap to wash away any excess saltiness.  Pat dry with kitchen paper. Lay the fillets on another dish and splash over with a couple of tablespoons of their marinade. Cover with oil, a good grinding of black pepper, the garlic and parsley.

Leave the fillets for another couple of hours in the fridge, covered, to allow them to come into their own. Eat with really good bread and enjoy them with wine.

Cooking

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Valentine Warner

Valentine Warner

Valentine Warner trained as a portrait painter before putting down the brush to pick up the spoon.  He worked in London restaurants for five years under such chefs as Alastair Little and Rose Carrarini before setting up a private catering company, Green Pea.  A passionate cook, he believes that a real understanding of ingredients, the producers involved and the natural history of ingredients contributes as much to the plate as the cooking itself.  A very keen outdoors man, when not in the kitchen he will be out with a basket or, more probably, fishing.  He has made television series for BBC Two, UK TV Good Food, ITV, The Discovery Channel and Fox International.  He is a regular contributor to national newspapers and magazines, as well as broadcasting for BBC radio.  He has written four books - What To Eat Next was published on 9th April 2014.
 
In September 2008 Valentine presented his first hit series ‘What to Eat Now’ which saw him seeking out the best food and dishes that Autumn has to offer. A second series of ‘What to Eat Now’ in 2009 saw Valentine concentrating on summer’s seasonal bounty. He also wrote two accompanying best-selling books to these series. In 2011, Val was a contributing chef to BBC2′s ‘Great British Food Revival’ series and ITV1′s ‘Love Your Garden’ series with Alan Titchmarsh. He also presented his own series ‘Valentine Warner: Coast to Coast’ on the Good Food channel in summer 2011, where he travelled the country fishing and cooking his catch, as well as ‘Ration Book Britain‘ and ‘Valentine Warner Eats The Sixties’ for Yesterday. He was a judge for the 2013 BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards and regularly presents programmes for BBC Radio 4. Last year he was again a judge for the 2014 BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards; as well as chairing the judging panel he co-hosted the live awards ceremony with Sheila Dillon in May.  The 10 x 30 television series ‘Valentine Warner Eats Scandinavia’ aired in September 2013 & repeated in January 2014 on the Good Food Channel. Two more 10 x 30 food/travel series for Fox & National Geographic transmitted in Summer 2014. The first is called ‘Hook It Cook It’, alongside Nathan Outlaw, and the second one is called ‘Valentine Warner’s Wild Table’.
 
Valentine writes a regular column for Countryfile and Delicious magazines and has written for The Times, The Independent, Olive, Waitrose Food Illustrated to name a few. His third book, The Good Table, was published by Mitchell Beazley in September 2011. The paperback version of this book came out in September 2013 & his fourth book, What To Eat Next, came out on 7th April 2014.

My connection with seafood

I have always been keen on water & subsequently everything that comes out of it, given a choice between fish or meat I think I could live without meat. The sea offers such a diverse range of truly delicious things, many of which have become favourites of mine. I am a passionate fisherman who spends a lot of his spare time drawing fish.

Why sustainability is important to me

Sustainably is important to me because we cannot survive without nature. The fragile eco systems of the world need all the species for a reason. Respect has to be shown over wanton consumption. Look after your planet, you can’t eat Prada!

www.valentinewarner.com

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