Easily filleted by removing the heads, then pulling the spines away from the fillet from the neck toward the tail, sardines are cured in a bright mixture of sugar, salt, and thyme. This recipe first appeared in our April 2014 issue with Mary Sue Milliken's story Forgotten Fish.
- 8 fresh sardines, cleaned, filleted, rinsed, and dried
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. minced thyme
- 1⁄4 tsp. sugar
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. minced parsley
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place sardines skin side down on a plate; rub 1 tbsp. oil into fillets. Mix salt, thyme, and sugar in a bowl; sprinkle over fillets. Place 4 fillets, skin side down, in a glass loaf pan; top with half the lemon and drizzle with 1 tbsp. oil. Top with 4 fillets, skin side up. Repeat with remaining fillets, lemon, and oil. Cover with wax paper and a piece of cardboard cut to fit inside the pan. Weigh down with cans; chill 24 hours. Transfer to a plate; sprinkle with parsley, garlic, and pepper.