Sarde en saor (sweet-and-sour sardines)

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8
Sarde en saor (sweet-and-sour sardines)

Heat one-fourth to one-half inch of canola oil in a heavy skillet until it is hot enough that food sizzles when added. Lightly flour the sardines and fry until lightly browned, about a minute per side. Lift the sardines from the oil and drain them on paper towels. Season with salt.


Drain the oil from the skillet, but don’t wipe it clean. Add the onions and the olive oil and cook over very low heat until the onions wilt and turn golden (not brown). This can take as long as an hour. Stir the onions from time to time.


When the onions are soft and sweet, add the vinegar, wine and bay leaf and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and stir in the raisins and pine nuts. Cool.


Arrange a layer of sardines skin-side up in the bottom of a small (10 1/2-inch by 6 1/2-inch) baking dish. Cover with half the onions. Repeat, layering the remaining sardines and onions. Pour any liquid that’s left in the pan over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 days before serving.


To serve, spoon the sardines and onions onto toast.

This must be made at least two days in advance, and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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