Sardines and Anchovies

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Providence chef-owner Michael Cimarusti takes a fresh look at cooking with sardines and anchovies. He shares a delicious marinated anchovy with artichoke dish. Cimarusti also suggests preparing a ceviche of anchovies by putting them in a little oil and topping them with white vinegar or citrus juice, then adding coriander, onions and any other spices you like. As the anchovies marinate in the mixture, the acid cooks the fish. They're ready to eat as soon as the fish begins to fall apart.

You can buy fresh sardines at fish wholesaler IMP Market in downtown Los Angeles, Mitsuwa Market on Alameda near 3rd Street in Little Tokyo and at Santa Monica Seafood in Santa Monica.

Also look for Aji (Spanish mackerel). It's one of the most flavorful fish in the ocean. Peel off its skin and roast it or grill it.

5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Marinated Anchovies with Artichokes Braised à la Greque
For the anchovies

  • 2 whole anchovies                                           

To marinate the anchovies - using your hands, remove the head and the backbones from the anchovies. This is best accomplished by pushing the flesh away from the bones with gentle pressure from your thumbs.           

Marinate the anchovies with the following:

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil                    
  • 1 bulb thinly sliced fennel (fronds reserved)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 small carrot peeled and cut into thin coins
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tsp Italian chili flakes
  • 20 or so parsley leaves
  • 20 or so cilantro leaves
  • Salt to season the fillets of anchovy

Mix together the wine, vinegar and the olive oil. Mix together the dry ingredients. Lay the dry ingredients out in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Place the anchovy fillets on top of the vegetables in a single layer, season with salt. Add the liquid ingredients and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight.

For the artichokes:

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 small freshly dug sweet onion peeled and cut into eight wedges
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 bouquet of thyme, parsley stems and basil stems
  • White vinegar to taste
  • 20 basil leaves torn
  • 8 small vine ripened Campari tomatoes, halved (available from Jaime farms, at the Wednesday and Sunday Santa Monica Farmers Markets) 

Place a non-reactive saucepan on the fire (preferably La Creuset or the like). Add half of the olive oil, the garlic, the spices and the bouquet.  When this begins to sizzle add the onions, carrots and the artichokes. Toss the mixture to coat with the olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt.  Sweat, for about two minutes over high heat. Add the white wine and cover the pan for five minutes.  Remove the lid and add the remaining olive oil. Season with the vinegar to taste and continue to cook until the artichokes are tender. Rectify the seasoning and turn the fire off. By this time the liquid in the pan should appear slightly thickened. Check the flavor of the liquid and rectify the seasoning.  Allow the artichokes to cool to room temperature in the pan. When they are cool transfer to as serving platter and add the torn basil leaves and the vine ripened tomatoes. Arrange the marinated anchovies on top of the braised artichokes, finish with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil and serve.

Evan Kleiman butterflies anchovies, sprinkles them with a bread-crumb topping and roasts them in the oven for just a few minutes. She also shares her version of marinated sardines.

Sarde Sott ' Aceto
Marinated Sardines
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

  • 1 lb fresh sardines, cleaned
  • 3 Tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and unpeeled
  • 3 - 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 cup wine vinegar

Saute the sardines in the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet.  Set aside in a glass, enamel, or earthenware dish.  For the marinade, brown the unpeeled garlic cloves in the 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium skillet, adding the bay leaves.  As soon as the garlic cloves are well browned, add the sweet paprika and stir for a minute or so.  Add the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil.  Pour the boiling marinade over the sardines and let cool.  Cover and let marinate in a cool place.

Music break: I'm Coming Home by Trendsetters Ltd.