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Sardines + Saffron

Sardines + Saffron

We gravitate towards seafood, and sardines hold a special place in our hearts. What's not to love? They’re packed with protein and omega-3s, more sustainable than other fish, accessibly priced and if you know how to cook them - extremely delicious.

Enter Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing, and Lost Dishes, the incredible new cookbook from Katie Parla, the Jersey-reared, Rome-based food-and-beverage culinary guide. We picked up a copy at The Wing when Kate and author, Rachel Khong did a mini panel back in August.

Ours is getting splattered in olive oil and lemon juice as we make our way through it, we've never been happier mucking up a beautiful hardcover book. It truly is an epic journal, chock full of delicious recipes, pick one up or add it to your holiday wish list.

"“In Gallipoli, I went out with a fishermen’s consortium into the Ionian Sea. They caught a bunch of sardines and whipped this up for lunch,” she says. As the sardines marinate in the tangerine-tinted brine, the flesh firms up and absorbs the saffron aroma. On their own, they make a flavorful addition to an antipasto spread, but you can also flake them for tossing with pasta—spaghetti, red pepper, and olive oil is a strong and very southern Italian move—or mounding over charred bread smeared with pesto." 

Yes, Katie, we'd like to try them every which way.

Scapece Alla Gallipolina 

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 cup white wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup water
6 to 8 saffron threads
Neutral oil, for frying (such as grapeseed, canola, peanut, or corn)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 lb whole fresh sardines, cleaned
Sea salt

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar and water and place over low heat. Just before it boils, remove from heat and add saffron. Set aside to bloom. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a medium frying pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dredge each sardine in flour, shaking off any excess.

Working in batches as needed, fry sardines, turning once to ensure even cooking, just until golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Be sure oil returns to 350° before adding next batch.

Layer fish in a glass or ceramic dish. Pour vinegar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 days before serving.

Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla; Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random Home, LLC.

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