“I’ll make a sardine-lover out of you yet!”
My husband scrunched his nose and turned away. We were next in line at the fish counter waiting to purchase salmon when I realized I had a few cans of sardines in the cupboard. The thought of using ingredients we already purchased excited me.
“You may THINK you don’t like sardines, but you will”, I promised him.
He still didn’t believe me, but knew I’d already made up my mind. We ducked out of line, grabbed some parsely and a few other odds and ends, then headed home. After only a few minutes of chopping and prep, the dish was ready to be served.
Scrunching his nose again, John nibbled on the tiniest of bites. He then put down his fork and hung his head.
“I hate to admit this kind of thing”, he whispered, “but you’re right.”
I choked on a little fish and asked him to repeat what he said again.
“You’re right!”, he exclaimed. “I actually like it.”
Pan-Fried Sardines in a Wine Reduction
adapted from Real Food Kosher’s Pan-Fried Sardines
gluten free, grain free, Paleo
for the sardines
2 (3.75 oz) cans of sardines, packed in olive oil (find it here, Amazon affiliate link)
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
2-3 tablespoon arrowroot powder (find it here) or gmo-free cornstarch* (find it here)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon paprika
unrefined sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
for the sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock (read how to make your own chicken broth) (for a thinner sauce, use 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers (find them here)
2 teaspoons capers (find them here)
*note: cornstarch is not Paleo-approved
For the Sardines
Open the cans of sardines and partially drain. In a bowl, mix the sardines, red wine vinegar, minced garlic and parsley. For maximum flavor, let the sardines marinate in this for 1 hours in the refrigerator. If you don’t have the time, just let it marinate while you prepare for the next step.
In another small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder and spices, salt and pepper together. Remove the sardines from their bowl (keep the marinade!) and gently dredge the sardines in the spices.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add butter and coconut oil until melted. Fry the sardines in the oil for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Once they are crispy and warm, remove from the skillet and set aside.
For the sauce
Keep the same skillet with all the little brown crispies, but remove from heat. Add the wine and loosen all the crispy pieces in the pan. Return the pan back to medium-high heat, add the red wine vinegar, roasted red peppers and capers and let the wine cook down for a few minutes. After a few minutes, add the chicken stock. Once the stock is fully warmed, remove from heat.
Serve the sardines over a bed of sauteed or raw spinach and pour the red wine reduction on top.