Oh the zeal of the converted. Just weeks ago I was flipping through cookbooks and tagged a page on SMOKED fish and coincidently was gifted freshly caught fish from Sea Forager (lucky Bay Area can join this CSA) I love smoked fish and we know that homemade is always better. No need to eat tinned fish when during SARDINE season. I found this process to be inspiring and empowering, cleaning and smoking these little lovelies. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.
So this is a bit of a HOW to: After watching many videos on cleaning SARDINES, I opted to try two methods of Prep.
First the little guys soaked in water and I ran water while I removed any scales with a knife, returning to water.
METHOD ONE: without head + tail:
First Cut the tail
Turn the on it's belly, slice behind the head down about 5/8 down and when you pull the head away, the most of the organs come out with the head. of course you can completely cut it off as well. Then you slice open the belly and clean and rinse. Don't forget to get down closer to the tail, more material for removing.
Amos says, "yes please!"
Slice open the belly and remove all of the organs and clean under running water.
For smoking, its nice to keep the head and tail intact. In this method, you just do a diagonal slice and cut open the chest, clean and rinse.
I used a stove-top smoker gifted to us a LONG time ago, only used to smoke potatoes for the yummy recipe from BAR TARTINE Cookbook. You can use roasting pans, grates and aluminum foil.
1) Place 3 table spoons of stove-top chips in the bottom of the smoker with fennel seeds and juniper berries
2) place the bottom cover (or a layer of foil) then add a rack, place the thoroughly dried sardines on the rack and then place the lid (or foil.)
3) Begin to heat up the pan on the stove, when it begins to smoke, turn it down. My pans leaks a bit, I placed wet towels around the leaky edges.
For oily fish like sardines, smoke for 30 minutes. For lighter fish, 5 - 10 is plenty.
This week I will make a salad with garlic, capers, EVOO + lemon juice and eat them with crackers.
Looking forward to more smoking around the house.