01.10.10: dinner (sardines and polenta)

Fresh Sardines with Garlic-Pecorino Polenta

What can I say, my wife loves sardines.  This is how we discovered the majesty of Norwegian mackerel–the fish market near us doesn’t carry them, but they suggested the mackerel as an oily, albeit larger, substitute.   I love sardines because they’re so small that you’re not confronted with a lot of complicated preparation options, just grill ‘em and eat ‘em, bones and all (once Elizabeth asked me about eating the bones and I responded with “why do you think they’re so high in calcium?”).  If you’re on the West Side, you can grab fresh sardines at the Whole Food on 97th and Columbus and at the Fairway in Harlem.  Two fabulous establishments, simply put.

Lately, we’ve been exploring polenta.  I think Elizabeth must have northern Italian blood somewhere in her lineage because she likes it so much.  The instant kind is very easy to prepare, second in simplicity maybe to couscous.  It goes so well with grated Pecorino and garlic, it’s easy to mix together, less than 10 minutes all told.  We like onions on pretty much everything, so of course, I sautéed a bunch and coated the fishies and polenta.  In Costa Rica, they put ‘onion gravy’ on plantains and this is pretty close to that.  Whole fish are nothing to be afraid of friends, nor strange side dishes.  Even with these little sardies, ask your fishmonger to clean them to make your life easier, because gutting them is a bit much–but ask them to keep the heads intact.  Until then, friends, cook on!

Sardine on Foodista

Polenta on Foodista

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8 comments
  1. Fish with heads and bones freak me out–I’m the biggest wimp of a foodie you’ll ever meet!

  2. I had just been thinking of sardines. No way my daughter would eat these…so I’ve got to find a way to eat them for lunch (don’t do two menus here).

  3. Sardines are too easy to bone. Thumb up the middle, pull up the spine at the neck, snapping off the head, and rip the spine and the guts out simultaneously. A double filet, without breakage or parting in the middle is the result. I get guests who pay good money to do this. I can handle about 50 in 15 minutes. Maybe even in 12 minutes. I would go on Hell’s kitchen and do it.

    Makerel are a bit of a pain. I am getting better at them.

    Anchovies are the best. REALLY high in calcium :) We chomp those puppies down whole.

  4. Tracy said:

    I do love polenta. We’re eating it tomorrow…sans the sardines. Must try. Sounds like a great flavor combo.

  5. Yum… sardines. I’m with Elizabeth on sardines and polenta. That photo is amazing… one of those that jump off the screen and scream, “EAT ME!”.

  6. oh my gawd……….have just discovered you and that looks sooooooooooo good, am v v hungry now.

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