Deep Fried Sardines

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

Peanut oil

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.

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About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in Appetizer, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Hors d'oeuvres, Recipes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Deep Fried Sardines

  1. Karen says:

    My husband loves fried smelts and fresh ones should be in the markets soon. I would have enjoyed walking with you and Jade through the market…everything looked great.

  2. Tessa says:

    Next time I see fresh smelt or sardines at the fish counter I am going to buy them and try this recipe! The fish look amazing!

  3. chefconnie says:

    Good lord! Love this post. Fried sardines you just nailed happiness down perfectly.

  4. I love sardines so deep frying them just makes them even more awesome. I’m seriously craving cheese now.

  5. Villy says:

    Particularly on a sunny warm day, I love a good plate of fried sardines with lemon! :)

  6. I haven’t heard of smelts before. The market looked wonderful, and I have heard of Beaufort D’ Ete :)

  7. ceciliag says:

    I am transfixed by the images of your market, how do you cope surrounded by all that sensational food.. how sublime! I have never had fried sardines.. but I love the sound of them! c

  8. Gorgeous post – lovely sardines, beautiful nougat and well done you for giving up wine for Lent. Don´t think I could have managed it :(

  9. Let us have a chilled wine and this dish. The fun begins here…

  10. Lovely to see the shots of the market (especially for those of us who don’t eat small fish).

  11. jules says:

    your deep fries sardines look amazing…and all that delicious nougat?…i’d have to rob the piggy bank and buy it all…

  12. I have to be honest, I’ve never tasted these and the idea of them isn’t something I’d immediately think of trying.. but looking at your photo and the way you’ve fried them up!! Now I’m for sure intrigued.. they sound awesome!! xo Smidge

  13. Really gorgeous! Where is the rice though? Lol I love this.

  14. Kathy says:

    I am drooling looking at those market photos – love the French markets! And the sardines… yummmmm!

  15. Dave says:

    You gave up wine for Lent???????????? If thats what its gonna take, Im never going to be able to make up for failing religion twice in high school

  16. Michelle says:

    How many hours left ’til Easter? You’re a brave woman. The fish looks great, too.

  17. cjdelgrosso says:

    Wow! This looks so delicious! It is making my mouth water!!!!

  18. Emi says:

    I love fried smelt, so can’t wait to try sardines this way. Your photos make me want to travel to France. Wonderful.

  19. Pingback: Spicy Deep Fried Sardines | Cooking in Sens

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