If you follow the blog, you know how much I like quick and easy meals. I also like the idea of nutrient dense ingredients like sardines. While looking through Melissa Joulwan's Well Fed 2, the Pan Fried Sardines went on my list of recipes to review. Little did I know what a paleo cliffhanger I had signed up for.
I gathered my ingredients and got to work.
First, you need to marinate the sardines. And here was my first point of concern. The recipe says to use about half the oil from the sardine can in the marinade. There wasn't really much oil in the can at all much less enough to divide. I basically used all of the oil from the can in the marinade.
The recipe says to use a small bowl to marinate the sardines. I'd add flat bottomed to the description of that bowl so that the marinade will touch most of the fish. I mixed in the marinade ingredients, covered my bowl, put it in the fridge and started a timer.
While the fish marinated, I prepared the spices to dredge the fish in before cooking and chopped up some lettuce. When my timer went off, I removed the fish from the marinate and attempted to coat it in the spice mixture. They didn't really coat very well. Again, I grew concerned, but I kept going.
After heating my cooking oil, I browned the sardines. There were some smaller broken up pieces of fish that I bunched together in the pan.
While the fish browned, I prepared my marinade dressed bed of lettuce for the fish.
Here is my plate. I squeezed some fresh lemon on the fish and a sprinkle of parsley and crossed my fingers.
Melissa recommends serving this dish with her Casablanca Carrots, so I did.
Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients: You should be able to find everything pretty inexpensively at your "big box" grocery store. I'm picky about sardines. I like this brand. I've found them at Costco in a multi pack.
Preparation & Cost of Ingredients: It took me 5 minutes to mix the marinade together. I marinated the fish for the minimal recommended time in the recipe: 30 minutes. I mixed up the dredging spices and chopped up the lettuce while the fish marinated. I had some extra parsley already chopped from making the carrots, but if you didn't, that could be chopped while the fish is marinating as well. It took me about 2 minutes to dredge the fish and then 4 minutes to cook the fish. My total preparation and cooking time was 41 minutes.
Clean Up: Everything went into the dishwasher except for my skillet.
The Paleo Review: Thumbs Up! By the time I put these in the skillet, I was actually pretty nervous and doubtful that they would turn out. Imagine my surprise and delight when I was wrong. These were super good. They had the flavor of salmon patties to me. Yum. A paleo cliffhanger that was worth the risk!
I didn't make it to the table with my finished plate. I don't recommend skipping the added lemon juice. My only issue was that I could have eaten another serving. I will double the recipe next time. Another neat feature of the book is that she suggests alternate spice blends for the fish. I might just try a different blend next time and report back.
I plated these with one of Melissa's suggested side dishes, Casablanca Carrots. While the carrots were good, I thought they over powered the fish a bit, so I'll likely try something different with the fish next time, but you might like them together.