Fried Sardines and Summer Greens
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Cornish sardines have been historically known as pilchards – and the term is still used now for sardines that are longer than 15cm. First exports of Cornish pilchards dates back to the 16th century, when the fish used to be salted, pressed and packed into wooden barrels, ready to be shipped across Europe. According to the Cornish Sardine Management Association, it appears that a record of 8,000 tonnes of pilchards have been exported in 1843, showing how thriving the fish market was back in the days. In contrast, in 1997 only 7 tonnes of pilchards have been caught off the Cornish coast. However, a smart rebranding to ‘Cornish Sardine’ and new recipe development conducted by Marks and Spencers led to a revival of demand for this fish. So much so that in 2007, the name ‘Cornish sardine’ was granted PGI status (Product of Geographical Indication) status, meaning that sardines can only carry that name if the fish are caught within six miles of the Cornish coast, landed and processed within the county of Cornwall or the port of Plymouth.
Today’s recipe – fried sardines with summer greens – is easy to execute and does not require any special equipment. Look for Cornish sardines in your local supermarket – and look for the PGI and Certified Sustainable logos on the label to make sure you’re buying the right products.
Fried Sardines with Creamed Savoy Cabbage
- 6 Cornish sardines butterflied
- 1/2 Savoy cabbage chopped
- 1 leek white part, chopped
- 100 g green peas
- 100 ml double cream
- rapeseed oil to cook
- butter to cook
- Maldon salt to season
- pepper to season
- fresh dill to garnish
- Salt the sardines and fry them in a pan, skin side down, on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, depending on size. Turn around if necessary until fully cooked.
- Blanch the Savoy cabbage and green peas and reserve.
- Heat a knob of butter in a pan, add the chopped leeks and fry on low heat until soft. Add the Savoy cabbage and green peas and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Finally, add the cream and bring to a gentle boil. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, place the creamed greens on two plates, add 3 sardines on each plate and a few springs of fresh dill.
This recipe is part of #TheWeeklyIngredientByAndra challenge, hosted on Instagram. If you want to get involved, follow me on Instagram at @mintandrosemary and check my stories on Friday morning.
For more summer cooking inspiration, check out this recipe for orzo salad with crayfish and green peas.
And if you’re looking for new kitchen tools or gadgets, head over to my Amazon Influencer page for a list of carefully curated tools, utensils and cookery books. Do feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, or if you’re looking to get a new kitchen tool/utensil/gadget. I’ll be happy to help!