Lately, I’m been going all nostalgic for fried smelts. My Dad would buy huge bags of these tasty babies and fry enough of them to satisfy everyone. Although my Mom was the primary cook in the family, my father was the fish frying and barbecue king! A good cook is one who is excited and happy about his or her labors. I can just see the big smile on his face whenever he would cook. Miss him.
Anyway. This weekend there was an arts, crafts and Marche Gourmand held in the covered market here in Sens. All the local food artisans were there, including Jean-Louis of the superb foie gras http://cookinginsens.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/grilled-mint-yogurt-lamb-chops/. I need a faster lens for the kind of people pictures I like to take; unposed. I know it will be outrageously expensive. Roger?
These artisan oils are so interesting; garlic and shallots, lemon, basil, walnut. I wanted to buy several but I decided to wait until I have a little more cupboard space.
The French don’t have a problem, as yet, with obesity because? It’s not like they’re always concerned about cutting out the fats in their diets. Not at all.
Artisanal nougat is so expensive but so good! After waiting until the stall owner stopped posing, Jade and I tasted a few of his products. Fabulous, but at about 6 euros per 100 g, we hesitated. What would Frugal do?
We only bought two different flavors. After politely elbowing the artisan aside who was trying to help me take the pictures, I was able to get a couple of shots.
I don’t know why, but I gave up wine for Lent. This has been particularly hard as neighbors stop by and I, of course, offer them a “verre” and then I have to refuse their verres when I visit them. I refused samples of Champagne, Sancerre and Chablis at this market :( One more week.
So what does this have to do with fried sardines? Nothing. I bought the imported sardines frozen at the Portuguese store and, unlike smelts, I had to head and gut them. Bleah!
With smelts on my mind, I found an interesting recipe at Steamy Kitchen http://steamykitchen.com/15666-fried-smelt.html that I decided to use for the sardines. My fishmonger had gifted me with some fish coating a while back and this seemed like a good time to try it out. Marvelous idea to pour on buttered fresh herbs, garlic and chilli. I just happened to have some nice healthy pots of parsley, dill and thyme.
So. The recipe. The texture of the sardines was not the same as smelts. Good though.
Deep Fried Sardines
1lb fresh or frozen small sardines, headed and gutted
1 cup flour or whatever coating you want to use
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1 small chilli, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 handful each; dill, parsley and thyme, chopped
Coat the sardines in the flour and fry in the peanut oil until crisp and golden. Melt the butter in a pan, then saute the garlic and chilli until aromatic. Remove from the flame and add the herbs, then pour over the sardines.