I’ve been on a mission lately to work my way through some of the recipes I’ve clipped from newspapers and magazines and stashed away, sometimes for years. I sorted through my collection the other day and couldn’t part with any of them. Apparently, there was a reason why each recipe was clipped and saved. Of course, they serve little purpose if I don’t actually make any of the recipes. That’s why I decide to make one recipe a week – or at least that is my stated goal – and try out some of these cool recipes.
Last night, I made a sardine pasta recipe that I clipped from the Chicago Tribune. Oddly enough, my nine year loves sardines and will happily eat them on crackers for a snack after school. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it.
Sardines have really gone out of fashion, similar to canned tuna. Once a staple of all pantries, most people find sardines fishy, oily and all around unappealing. When I was growing up in Maine, sardine plants packing plants were a part of the working waterfront. No longer. The sardines for sale at the grocery store are all packed abroad and imported into the U.S.
Regardless, I think people should give sardines another chance. They are a healthy fish that are affordable and sustainably fished. I think they are pretty tasty too. Tough to find many fish with those qualities and I love the idea of having a can on hand to make a quick meal.
This recipe is called Pasta chi sari a mari, or “pasta with sardines that are still in the sea” and was based on a recipe by the late actor Vincent Schiavelli. Admittedly, I have no idea who this actor is but the recipe was simple and delicious.
The only real change I’ve made is to add course salt to the recipe. Surprisingly, the recipe was lacking in that department, since I thought the sardines would take care of the saltiness. Dig in!
Pasta chi sari a mari
1/4 C golden raisins
1/2 C fresh breadcrumbs
1 can (120 grams) sardines in olive oil
3 T olive oil
1 whole clove garlic
1 t fennel seeds
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 C chopped fennel fronds
2 T chopped parsley
1 pound pasta
freshly ground pepper
Cover the raisins in boiling water; set aside to soften. Fill large pot with water, cover and put over high heat. Heat skillet over medium heat, add breadcrumbs, sprinkle liberally with course salt and drizzle with oil from sardines to moisten. Toast until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
When the water comes to a rapid boil, add about a teaspoon of salt and cook al dente according to package instructions. Meanwhile, over medium heat put 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot that will hold the pasta. Add the garlic clove, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Discard garlic.
Put the sardines and remaining oil into the skillet and break the fish into bite sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the pasta is done, drain, reserving a 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta and reserved liquid to the skillet. Drain the raisins and add them to the skillet, along with the parsley and fennel fronds. Increase the heat to medium high, stirring constantly until the water is evaporated.
Serve pasta with the toasted breadcrumbs on top.