Marinated Sardines

This recipe is dedicated to lovers of fish: marinated sardines. Excellent when eaten warm, sardines in sauce are even more delicious if you have them cold the next day. The preparation of the sauce, with vinegar, allows this dish to keep for several days in the refrigerator without going off; indeed, on the contrary, it improves with the keeping. If you have ever enjoyed stopping off at a ‘bàcaro’ (a basic fish trattoria) whilst taking a stroll through Venice, today is your chance to learn how to make them at home.


60 minutes Total time
30 minutes Active time
Serves 8 persons
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Start with the sardines: gut and clean (leave the bones in), then dry them, lightly coat in flour and fry in hot oil until crisp. Season generously with salt. Separately, fry the onions in extra virgin olive oil, with salt, until they soften and lose some volume. Salt is necessary in cooking the onions, to remove their water so that they do not stick. The frying of the onions must be done in a covered pan and over a low heat, so as to avoid having to add more water. When cooked, add a cup of vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, reduce a little and turn off the heat after half a minute. When the onions have cooled, put a layer of sardines in serving dish, then a layer of onion, and continue until all the fish and onions have been used. Wait a few days before eating.

Sauté the onions in the same oil in which you fried the sardines and the dish will acquire even more flavour!
This typical Venetian marinating sauce based on onions - ‘saor’ - is a cousin of the Piedmont method of preserving fish: ‘carpione’.

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