Author Notes: When I get a new idea….I often think of it as a kind of birthing. First a tiny seed takes root and before you know it, it’s walking, living, breathing and even occasionally shouting back at you, forgetting from whence it came.
And so it was with this. First I thought of sardines and their softness in oil and what came to mind was duck confit. And then I knew that the rest was history. —Kitchen Butterfly
Makes: a jar full
12 Fresh sardines fillets or 6 whole sardines, rinsed, scaled and filleted
Coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups olive oil (or sunflower oil)
Coarsely crushed peppercorns
Dried Oregano or Dried Greek Herbs, to taste
- If using whole sardines, fillet them. First remove the head and then gently cut down the belly side, lengthways. Gently remove the guts as sardines are tender fish. Spread open, skin side down. Then place your finger under the central bone and gently pull it up and remove. Using tweezers, remove some of the other larger bones. Cut each fish in half to form fillets and then you’re done.
- Cure the fillets in a 50/50 mixture of coarse sea salt and caster sugar for 15 minutes. Then rinse well and pat dry. Just like cured salmon, the flesh will firm up a bit and release some of its juices
- Heat oil to 60°C (120°F) and hold at that temperature. Slip in sardine fillets, pepper corns and dried herbs and confit for 3 minutes until just cooked through.
- Put fish into a clean, lidded jar or weck pot and top up in oil. Can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks. Enjoy and bask in the knowledge that many things can be made at home! Like I did....