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How to make sardines? Discover the secrets for perfect preparation

Find out how to choose, clean and prepare the perfect sardine


A good sardine should be fresh, soft, have the smell of the sea and fleshy to be juicier. There are several ways to prepare canned sardines, such as pâtés and salads, and pair them with white wine or brut sparkling wine.

Fresh or canned, grilled, fried or raw, sardines are good either way. A small saltwater fish, sardines are the delicious and versatile fish typical of Portuguese cuisine. Valdeci Castro, general manager of Rancho Português São Paulo, explains how to choose, clean and prepare the perfect sardine. Watch!

What is a good sardine?

To identify a good fresh sardine you need to pay attention to its freshness and juiciness. The advice is to choose firm sardines (harder flesh when touched with your hands), fresh and fleshy, because they are juicier. The smell also indicates that the sardine is of good quality and should smell like the sea.

Oh, and a fun fact: the cold season is the best time to consume fish, since it comes from deep sea and its metabolism slows down during this period.

How to clean?

First, remove the scales of the sardine. Then debone it with a fork and knife: just remove the head, slowly open the fish at the top with the knife holding the fork and remove the bone in the centre.

How to prepare it?

Tradition dictates: for a grilled sardine, salt it with coarse salt and roast it whole with the belly on the grill, preferably on charcoal for a stronger flavour. Another classic way of preparing fish is the marinated one, which uses raw sardines, boned, cut into small pieces and marinated for 12 hours in a vinaigrette with olive oil, onion, tomato, parsley and salt to taste.

And canned sardines?

In the case of canned sardines, the ideal is to make them only with olive oil and a lighter seasoning such as tomato. As regards the different fish preparations, the chef’s advice is to use canned sardines in pâtés and salads, such as green salad.

Paired side dishes and drinks

Since it is a lighter food, the ideal is to pair sardines with white wine or brut sparkling wine. To accompany it, try a green leaf salad or potatoes cooked in oil and salt.

A classic

Other perfect accompaniments are corn bread and perforated potatoes, classics of the traditional Portuguese recipe for grilled sardines. Discover the recipe available in the Rancho Português menu and try these tips to prepare this delicious fish.

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Source: Terra

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