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’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 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.
However 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’s 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?
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’s 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.
Sarde in Saor Recipe
- 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’s 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.