Super Food Recipe: Venetian-Style Marinated Sardines

sposi_soarSarde in Saor (Venetian-Style Marinated Sardines)

Taken from “Flavors of Friuli: A Culinary Journey through Northeastern Italy.”

Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. They are also an excellent source of vitamin B12, which promotes cardiovascular and neurological health, and vitamin D, which helps to increase the absorption of calcium. Because sardines are a small fish, they are less likely to contain contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. Onions not only provide anti-inflammatory benefits, they also may lower the risk of certain cancers.


6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus
1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup plus
1 tablespoon water, divided
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound sardines, cleaned and gutted, heads removed


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion; cook and stir until soft and translucent, about 15–20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine 1-1/2 teaspoons flour with 1 tablespoon water; stir the mixture into the onion. Add the vinegar, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and the remaining 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.

Dredge the sardines in the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the sardines in the skillet; cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the sardines to an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish; pour the onion mixture over the sardines. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Serves 4.

Note: In Italy this appetizer is typically served with polenta.

Elisabeth Antoine Crawford, Author of “Flavors of Friuli: A Culinary Journey through Northeastern Italy”

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