Jan 31st, 2013

This is a magical dish: I would not know any other way to describe it! It’s a typical an ubiquitous (did I mention irresistible?) Venetian appetizer with a preparation that originates from the sailors’ need of preserving highly perishable food for extended periods of time at sea. The copious amount of onion and vinegar not only accomplish the aforementioned task, but also wed the fried sardines in a surprisingly balanced moisture and flavor combination.

time to make: 45’ to prepare, 24h to rest

difficulty: medium-easy

yields: 8 servings


  • 8 large sardines, about 500 g / 1.1 lb cleaned
  • 500 g / 1.1. lb white or yellow onion
  • 250 g / 8.8 oz distilled white vinegar
  • 40 g / 1.4 oz pine nuts
  • 40 g / 1.4 oz raisins
  • 12 g / 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40 g / 3 tbsp olive oil (to sauté di onions)
  • frying oli, enough to cover 1 & 1/2 inch of your frying pan
  • flour to coat the filets

at work

  • clean the fish, this is the job! if you can buy fresh sardines already cleaned, don’t think about it twice! preferably wearing gloves and under a bit of running water, remove the heads, the interiors, the scales and the fins. finally remove the bones and open flat on a plate to dry
  • slice the onions very thin (I suggest using a mandoline slicer), add to a skillet with the olive oil and cook for 30’ on very low fire, stirring occasionally: do not burn them!
  • add the sugar and the vinegar to the onions and keep cooking for 12’ on medium fire. turn off the fire and let cool
  • pass the filets in flour, shake the excess off and fry for 3’, flipping them half way, do not overcrowd. pat dry the fried filets and let cool down on a plate sprinkled with salt
  • once everything has cooled down, place a hight layer of sardines in a glass container, cover it with a layer of onions, sprinkle with pine nuts and raisins. repeat until you have used everything and try to plan layers so that you finish with completely covered sardines. add some salt, some bay leaves and pepper grains
  • put in the refrigerator to rest for at least 24 hours


  1. wozuup said: One of my Favourites !! After Baccala’ !
  2. italianmondays posted this
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