This delicacy is the pinnacle of the Mediterranean Diet. Every single ingredient is health-promoting and all their flavors blend harmoniously to give you an appetizer that is out of this world.
You will need the freshest of sardines – this requirement cannot be stressed enough – otherwise, simply don’t bother. They literally have to be the catch of the day. Your olive oil has to be extra virgin and aromatic, your herbs fresh and as for the olives, don’t settle for anything less than a jar of Latrovalis sliced Kalamon in their brine because it is precisely the brine that will be your secret ingredient!
If you find all the proper ingredients and are prepared to put the extra effort required in the finesse of their preparation, make a sizeable portion of Latrovalis Olive Marinated Sardines so that you can satisfy the guaranteed demand for refills from your guests.
½ kilo or 1 pound fresh sardines
1 jar Latrovalis sliced kalamon olives with their brine
1 cup coarse sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 large onion
A variety of peppers of different colors
A variety of fresh herbs and sprouts
Gherkins and capers
Cut off the heads and tails of the sardines, gut them and wash off any scales they might still have. Using a sharp fillet knife, carefully slice each sardine open in the direction from the gut to the tail. Take care that the knife cuts as close as possible to the one side of the bone but not deep enough that the sardine is cut in two. You need to “butterfly” each sardine into a nice thin fillet. With the help of the sharp knife detach the bone from the one end of the sardine and gently pull it to completely detach it. Wash the sardines with cold water and drain them completely.
Sprinkle half the sea salt onto a shallow baking tin, place the dried open sardine fillets on the bed of salt, and sprinkle the remaining salt onto the sardine fillets. After about an hour the salt will have “cooked” the sardine fillets, making their flesh firm and light-colored.
Open the jar of Latrovalis sliced kalamon olives and drain their brine into a container. Pick up one sardine fillet at a time with two fingers, wiggle it so as to shake off as much of the salt as possible, and place it in the container with the brine. Allow the sardine fillets to marinade in the brine for 30 minutes.
Put the white wine vinegar in a similar container. Repeat the previous procedure in order to move the sardines from their “olive brine bath” into a “vinegar bath”. Allow the sardine fillets to marinade in the vinegar for another 30 minutes.
Put the extra virgin olive oil in a similar container. Repeat the same procedure in order to move the sardines from their “vinegar bath” to their final “olive oil bath”. If placed in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container, the sardine fillets in olive oil can be stored for up to a month, not that they will last that long.
Cut the sliced olives into smaller pieces and set aside. Finely chop the gherkins and set aside. Dice the different colored peppers and set each color separately aside. Thinly julienne the onion and set aside. Finely chop the fresh herbs and set each kind aside separately. Finally, separately set aside the capers and each kind of sprout.
Place four sardine fillets, skin side up, on a plate and top with olives, gherkins, capers, and slivers of onion. This is your canvas. Now you can give your dish the composition of your choice using some of the remaining toppings. Serve with ouzo on the rocks.
Keep everything handy on the kitchen counter because you can be sure that you will make multiple trips back to the kitchen for refills of this dish. Listen to your guests “wow” with delight every time you bring back a uniquely composed appetizer, simply by using different types of pepper, herb, and sprout. Reserve the red hot chili pepper for the last round to end your bottomless appetizing course with a bang!