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Sarde in Saor

Sarde in Saor: a cold Venetian sardine recipe with vinegar and onions, the perfect summer entree.

Sarde in saor is a typical Venetian sardine recipe. Some use the name ’sweet and sour sardines’ as well. It’s bloody easy to prepare and a real treat for a hot summer’s evening. Sarde in soar is served cold and preferably eaten with bread. I first got to taste it in the picturesque small island village of Burano not far from the coast of Venice. Some chefs add white wine and raisins to the recipe. I don't want to overcomplicate the sardines so I kept it very basic.

It is made with fresh sardines. You can ask your fish monger to clean them for you. There’s really not a lot to it. If you feel comfortable enough you can do it yourself.


Ingredients for 2 persons

4 fresh sardines
1 medium onion
½ cup (120 ml) vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) water
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.

Sarde in Saor

Cook for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat until the vinegar has reduced at least by half. Season with a little pepper and salt to taste. Keep the onions  crunchy!

Sarde in Saor

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the raisins. Let the onions rest and cool for now.

Sarde in Saor

In the meantime clean the fresh sardines thoroughly. Rinse them under cold running tap water and pat them dry with some kitchen paper. Pour the plain flour on a plate. Season with a dash of pepper and salt. Lightly coat the cleaned sardines with the flour. Shake off any excess flour.

Sarde in Saor

Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the floured sardines skin side down.

Sarde in Saor

Brown the sardines in the hot oil on both sides for 2 minutes until golden and crunchy.

Sarde in Saor

Once the sardines are cooked, take the pan off the heat. Put a layer of vinegary onions in a baking dish and top with half of the sardines.

Sarde in Saor

Cover with another layer of onions and sardines again. Finish with the remaining onions.

Sarde in Saor

Let the sardines cool and marinate further at room temperature for at least 5 hours. Serve cold.

Sarde in Saor
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