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Love these little slippery things

Posted by Sheryl Julian  November 30, 2009 04:03 PM

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When I see sardines in the fish case, I buy. This time, I told the man behind the counter at Whole Foods Market not to gut them. Last week someone butchered my branzino, hacking off the tail and snipping here and there so it looked awful when I opened the package at home.

Well, well, well. Gutting and cleaning sardines is no fun. But cooking them is! Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with plenty of lemon, and broil as close to the element as you can get. They're bony little things, so boil potatoes or toast crusty bread. Here, croutes are topped with a mustard-mayo. If the tiny bones are overwhelming you, grab some bread and you'll be fine.

Broiled sardines with mustard-mayo croutes
Serves 4

SARDINES
Olive oil (for the pan)
16 sardines
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Turn on the broiler and set a rack as close to it as possible.
2. Rub the bottom of a 12-to-14-inch baking dish with oil. Add the sardines. With your hand, rub them with oil, then sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
3. Broil the sardines for 5 to 8 minutes or until they are lightly charred. Check them once or twice while they cook.

CROUTES
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Squeeze of lemon juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste
12 slices French bread, toasted until golden
1 lemon, cut lengthwise into quarters (for serving)

1. While the sardines broil, in a bowl stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, if you like.
2. Spread the bread with the mayonnaise mixture. Serve with the sardines and plenty of extra lemon wedges. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.

Contributors

Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.
 

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