Sardines with Vinegar and Currant Dressing by Dani Valent
Australian sardines are an abundant resource, caught in seine nets that are deployed to surround sardine schools but enable the release of most other wildlife unharmed. Sardines convert tiny plankton that are at the base of the marine food chain directly into tasty, oily fish, and therefore they deliver a highly nutritious seafood option with a relatively small environmental footprint. The availability of these fast growing fish is highly connected to the strength of nutrient rich oceanic currents flowing from our southern oceans.
Sustainable local sardine fisheries operate right throughout subtropical and cooler Australian waters, from southern QLD to WA
Fresh Sardines with Vinegar and Currant Dressing
By Dani Valent
The trick with sardines is that they need to be as fresh as possible as the meat can soften and lose its quality quite quickly. They do however freeze very well once they have been gutted and cleaned so buy up when you see them fresh!
- 6 fresh sardines
- 20 ml olive oil, plus extra for cooking
- 60 ml water
- 60 ml sherry vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 heaped tablespoon currants
- 2 tablespoons herbs, chopped
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- Orange zest
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Clean sardines by using a sharp knife to cut through the back of the neck then fold to open the cut, removing the head and pulling the guts out with it. To butterfly the sardines, cut into the belly until you can feel the spine.
Use your fingers to open the fish out and snap the spine near the tail. Slowly remove the spine, bringing all the ribs with it.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and cook sardines, skin-side down until almost cooked through. Flip onto the flesh side for a few seconds to finish cooking then remove to a serving plate.
Heat water, vinegar, garlic and currants in a small pan and let simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
Scatter herbs, crushed walnuts and zest over sardines, then drizzle with vinegar and currant dressing.
Grate orange zest over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
See Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, a free app available on IOS and Android, to help you decide when next you are choosing to buy seafood.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s GoodFish project is a community of chefs, restaurants, fishers and wholesalers who work towards supporting healthier oceans.