Sardines Recipes, Storing, Buyer's Guide and Interesting Facts
Think about fresh sardines, not canned making a healthy grilled fish recipe.
Fresh African Sardines Recipes
Sardines Buyer's Guide
Sardines are best when cooked near where they are caught they do not travel well. Fresh sardines are very perishable and normal refrigerator temperatures of do not inhibit the enzymatic activity that causes them to spoil. They are available throughout the winter but are at their best in spring. If you are purchasing fresh sardines, look for ones that smell fresh, are firm to the touch, and have bright eyes and shiny skin.
How to Store Fresh Sardines
To store the fresh sardines, remove them from the store packaging, rinse them and place them in a plastic storage bag as soon as you bring them home from the market. Place in a large bowl and cover with ice cubes or ice packs to reduce the temperature of the fish.
How to Clean Sardines for Cooking
Fresh sardines are perfect for stews, grilling and barbecuing. Remove the scales by holding the fish under running water and brushing it from tail to head between your finger and thumb, and then cook until the skin is crisp and charred and the flesh comes away easily.
Sardines are usually sold whole, whether fresh, frozen or canned. Sardines are found throughout the entire coast of Southern Africa and sardine recipes in Africa are plentiful.
Grilled Sardines Recipe
4 butterflied sardines, tail on, head removed
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground paprika
1 hot chili pepper, chopped
Olive oil for mix and frying
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Heat a large frying pan add olive oil. Add all ingredients except fish to a food processor and pulse to make a coarse paste. Spread the paste generously on sardines and place in pan until the skin is crisp and the fish cooked through.
Sardines Interesting Facts
The term sardine was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, where sardines were once abundant.
In South Africa, sardines are particularly abundant in upwelling regions because of high nutrient production that stimulates phytoplankton and zooplankton growth, which is the food source of these and other small pelagic fish.
Sardines are migratory species; they migrate to specialized grounds for spawning and migrate back to their usual grounds after spawning.
Each year during the May and July crowds of people gather on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline looking forward to billions of sardines appears for the Sardine Run. The Sardine Run in past years has been similar to the great wildebeest migrations on the Serengeti Plain of East Africa.
Sardines are schooling fish found swimming together in large groups. They do not have a certain method of communication except vibration in the water column can alert the other fish about what is happening during their schooling activity.