Sarde in Saor Venetian Style
(Serves 4 as a first course)
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dry white wine
Extra-virgin olive oil
A dozen sardines, gutted and scaled
½ cup all-purpose flour
A generous pinch of Aleppo pepper (or another spicy paprika)
2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
4 large thyme sprigs, the leaves lightly chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the white wine.
In a high-sided skillet, heat about 2 inches of olive oil over medium heat.
Pat the sardines dry. Pour the flour out onto a plate, and season it well with salt and Aleppo pepper. Dredge the sardines in the flour.
When the olive oil is hot but not smoking, add the sardines (you’ll probably want to do them in two batches). Fry until crisp and browned on one side, about 2 minutes, and then give them a flip, and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Drain the sardines on paper towels, and lay them out, slightly overlapping, in a rectangular serving dish (one with low sides).
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, seasoning them with salt and black pepper. Sauté until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar and the thyme, and sauté a minute longer. Add the raisins in their soaking wine, and let the wine boil until almost evaporated (you want a little liquid in the pan, though, so don’t boil it dry). Add the white wine vinegar, and let it bubble for about a minute. Add the pine nuts.
Pour the onion mixture over the sardines, making sure they’re well covered. Give it a little drizzle of fresh olive oil, cover tightly, and refrigerate for a day, so the flavor can develop. Bring back to room temperature before serving. It will last about four days refrigerated.
This recipe originally appeared on the blog of Erica de Mane and can be reached here: