Venetian sarde in saor: a sweet and sour sardine recipe with vinegar pickled onions, raisins and pine nuts… Lovely lunch idea to make a day in advance!
Sarde in saor is a typical Venetian sardine recipe. Some use the name ’sweet and sour sardines’ also. It’s an easy appetizer or starter dish because you can prepare it a day in advance. You eat these sardines cold with some crunchy bread on the side to mop up the remaining vinegar sauce.
Conclusion: this is a real treat for hot summer days!
Sarde in Saor: Sardines from Venice
Make this recipe with fresh sardines, not the canned ones.
Do you often cook with fresh fish? Here in Spain we have an abundance of fresh fish. Sardines are available year in year out. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you. There’s really not a lot to it. If you feel comfortable enough you can do it yourself then. See here how to clean sardines like a boss!
I first tasted sarde in soar for lunch while visiting the extremely picturesque small island village of Burano near Venice, Italy. It was an excruciating hot day, that Italian sun was just savage! But we had a lot of fun. We took the ferry to the island and enjoyed every second of it. It’s quite a tourist attraction, with all those colorful houses and small canals.
Food we thought would be highly overpriced and somewhat mediocre. But we sat down to a lovely little lunch somewhere in the shade. And then ordered these sardines, not knowing what we would really get. However this dish turned out to be lip smacking good!
Some chefs add extra white wine and almonds to this recipe. But I don’t want to drown the sardines in ingredients. I kept it very basic by just adding raisins and pine nuts for crunch because I still want the sardines to be the hero of this dish.
- 4 fresh sardines
- 1 medium onion
- ½ cup red wine vinegar (120 ml)
- ¼ cup water (60 ml)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp raisins
- olive oil
- Peel and trim the onion. Slice it up finely and transfer to a saucepan. Pour in the vinegar and water.
- Place it over medium-high heat until boiling. Then let the vinegar reduce at least by half. Season with a little pepper and salt to taste. Keep the onions crunchy!
- Then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the raisins. Let the onions rest until cooled down.
- In the meantime clean the fresh sardines thoroughly. Rinse them under cold running tap water. Pat them dry with some kitchen paper. Pour the plain flour on a plate. Season with a dash of pepper and salt. Then lightly coat the cleaned sardines with the flour. Shake off any excess flour.
- Pour a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and place it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the floured sardines skin side down.
- Brown the sardines in the hot oil on both sides for 2 minutes. They should be golden and crunchy.
- Then take the pan off the heat. Put a layer of vinegary onions in a baking dish. Top with half of the sardines.
- Cover with another layer of onions and sardines again. Finish with the remaining onions.
- Let the sardines rest at room temperature for at least 5 hours until fully marinated. Serve cold.