Do try out these Venetian sarde in saor! This is a sweet and sour marinated sardine recipe with vinegar, pickled onions, raisins and pine nuts… What a lovely lunch idea this is to make a day in advance!
Sarde in saor is a typical Venetian sardine recipe.
Have you ever heard of this dish before?
Some use the name ’sweet and sour sardines’ also instead of sarde in saor.
It is 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!
Easy Sarde in Saor Recipe
Make this sarde in saor recipe with fresh sardines, definitely not the canned ones.
Do you often cook with fresh fish?
Here in Spain we have an abundance of fresh fish. Sea bass, sea bream, hake, salmon, fresh anchovies… all sorts of fish. Fresh sardines are available year in year out so you will always find them here.
You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you if you like.
They most likely will do it.
Do you buy fish often?
I have noticed that quite a few fishmongers in Belgium prefer to spend that time selling more fish instead of cleaning fish. Sardines are very cheap here as well and they are not always willing to clean cheap fish.
More expensive turbot and lemon sole, sure. But fresh sardines, you can do that yourself.
Fortunately there is really not a lot to it when it comes to cleaning fish.
If you feel comfortable enough you can even do it by yourself if you like to get your hands dirty in the kitchen.
Not sure how to do that?
How to Clean Sardines
See here how to clean sardines like a boss! Step by step, with picture.
It is very simple to do!
I first tasted sarde in soar for lunch while we were visiting the extremely picturesque small island village of Burano near Venice, Italy.
It was one of those excruciatingly hot days, 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 is quite a tourist attraction, with all those colorful houses and small canals.
Sarde in Saor Lunch in Burano
Food we thought would be highly overpriced and somewhat mediocre and of poor quality.
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.
Easy Ventian Sarde in Saor Recipe
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 then!
- 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.
Fresh Sardine Recipes
So what is your favorite fish?
The hubs and I adore these sarde in saor. But we often make other fresh sardine dishes.
For instance, one that I found in a Spanish cookbook: oven baked sardines with pepper, salt and breadcrumbs. Yes, breadcrumbs! And it is highly delicious. For that recipe you really need to clean the fresh sardines or it will be such a struggle to eat.
So what you do is clean the sardines and remove all the funny stuff.
Then you put the cleaned sardine fillets skin side down in a baking dish. Drizzle them with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Followed by a thin layer of breadcrumbs or panko.
Put the dish in the oven and bake the sardines for about 15 minutes. I can assure you that this sardine dish is very addictive. That crunch of the baked breadcrumbs is amazing.
“Sarde in Saor” is a traditional Italian dish from the Venetian cuisine, specifically associated with the city of Venice.
The dish consists of marinated sardines (sarde) that are cooked with onions, pine nuts, raisins, vinegar, and sometimes sugar. The result is a sweet and sour flavor profile that was historically used as a method of preserving fish.
The exact inventor of “Sarde in Saor” is not definitively known, as it likely emerged over time as a practical and flavorful way to preserve fish in the Venetian region. The dish’s origins can be traced back to the maritime history and trading activities of Venice, where sailors and merchants sought ways to preserve food for their long journeys at sea.
The name “Saor” comes from the Venetian word “savor,” meaning flavor or taste.
The dish was developed as a way to preserve fish by marinating it in a flavorful mixture of onions, vinegar, and other ingredients, which helped extend its shelf life.
“Sarde in Saor” holds cultural significance in Venice and is often associated with the city’s maritime history. It is traditionally served during special occasions and festivals, particularly the Feast of the Redeemer (Festa del Redentore), which is celebrated on the third Sunday of July to commemorate the end of the plague in 1577.
While the specific inventor may remain unknown, “Sarde in Saor” stands as a testament to the ingenuity of Venetian cuisine and its ability to create flavorful and enduring dishes that reflect the region’s history and cultural heritage.
Venetian cuisine is influenced by the city’s maritime history, its unique geography, and the availability of local ingredients.
Here are some examples of typical Venetian dishes besides sarde in saor that showcase the flavors and traditions of the region.
Risotto al Nero di Seppia
This dish is a Venetian take on risotto, made with squid ink (“nero di seppia”) that gives it a distinctive black color and a subtle seafood flavor. The rice is cooked with squid or cuttlefish, resulting in a creamy and flavorful dish that captures the essence of the sea.
Baccalà is salted codfish that has been rehydrated and cooked. In this Venetian preparation, baccalà is whipped into a creamy and airy consistency with olive oil and garlic, creating a delicious spread that is typically served on crostini (small toasts) or as a dip. It’s a popular appetizer and showcases the city’s use of preserved seafood.
Bigoli in Salsa
Bigoli are thick, hand-rolled pasta noodles made from whole wheat flour. They are typically served with a simple but flavorful sauce made from slow-cooked onions, salt-cured fish (usually sardines or anchovies), and sometimes white wine. This dish exemplifies the use of local ingredients and the simplicity of Venetian home cooking.
Spaghetti alle Vongole
A beloved Venetian classic, this dish consists of spaghetti cooked with fresh clams, garlic, white wine, olive oil, and often a touch of red pepper flakes. The flavors of the sea meld with the pasta to create a light and flavorful dish that captures the essence of Venetian cuisine.
Fegato alla Veneziana
Translating to “Venetian-style liver,” this dish features thin slices of calf’s liver cooked with onions in a rich sauce of butter, white wine, and a touch of vinegar. It’s a unique and flavorful representation of Venetian cuisine’s combination of sweet and savory elements.
These dishes offer a glimpse into the diverse and flavorful culinary traditions of Venice, where ingredients from the land and sea come together to create unique and memorable flavors. Venetian cuisine is deeply rooted in history and culture, reflecting the city’s connection to the waterways and its role as a melting pot of culinary influences.