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Ingredients:
  • 3/4 lb fresh sardines from Portugal, 4-5" in length
  • Kosher (or) sea salt
  • 3/4 cup terra medi white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups terra medi extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 heads of fennel, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 edium red onions peeled
  • 1/2 oz terra medi white wine vinegar
  • 2 T chopped parsley
  • 1/2 T sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 pieces of Nan bread (middle eastern bread available at special food stores)
Method:
Butterfly the sardines using a sharp paring knife. Position the knife tip at the head, and starting from the head move the knife along the backbone toward the tail. Turn the sardines over and repeat, keeping the tail together so that the sardine remaines in one piece. Trim any bones along the belly.

Place one layer of sardines in a stainless steel pan or casserole, skin side down and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt.Repeat until all sardine have been placed in the pan. Put pan in the refregerator for 15 minutes.

Remove sardines from refrigerator and pour vinegar over fillets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until fish turn white. Drain and discard liquid. Cover with 2 cups olive oil wrap and refrigerate. Sardines will keep for several days.

Set a mandolin on thin side (or using sharp knife) and shave the fennel into very thin, transparent slices. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into a bowl of cold water. Reserve fennel into a lemon water. Using same mandolin setting, shave the onions and set aside. Juice the orange.

In a stainless mixing bowl, combine orange juice vinegar and sugar. Add fennel, onions parsley and 1/2 cup olive oil, combine and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Reserve covered and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat grill. When coals are ready, lay Nan bread over fire and grill, one or two minutes per side. Drizzle bread with remaining olive oil and slice into triangles, serving three pieces with each presentation. Remove sardines from the oil reserving oil for the following salad preparation. Serve with grilled Nan bread, fennel and red onion salad and fresh orange sections.

Yields 6-10 servings.