This recipe was one of many courses I prepared for a dinner recently with the world renowned interior designer Waldo Fernandez. Waldo is a designer to the ultra rich including a lot of the Hollywood A Lister's. Sometimes I really don't know what I want to make and serve, so I end up making 10 different things. On this occasion that's exactly what I did. Waldo is extremely health conscious and I wanted to cater to that. I prepared all kinds of vegetable dishes and array of proteins as well. I found some fresh sardines that I know JP loves. So I decided to try and take a classic fried sardine and put my twists on it. I didn't want to use flour because I didn't know if Waldo was gluten free or not. So how do you get crunch to your "breading" without bread (crumbs)? Rice. I took forbidden black rice and ground it into a flour. I used this as the crust because of the crunch and look.
10 Sardines gutted, heads removed and center spine bones
1 1/2 cups of forbidden black rice ground into flour using vita mix or flour grinder
1/4 cup olive oil to fry
1 cup of creme fraiche
3 tbsp prepared horseradish
1 lemon zested and half juiced
Salt and Pepper
3 tbsp of snipped chives to garnish
To make the horseradish sauce place creme fraiche, horseradish, zest and juice of the lemon into a bowl and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve.
To clean the sardines have your butcher gut them and scale them for you. When you get home cut the head off of the sardines. Then butterfly the sardine going through the same cut the butcher used to clean the belly, you don't want to cut all the way through to the other side of the fish. You can almost separate the back bone from the fillet with your hands by just using the knife to help the separation. Stop right before you get the tail. Now you should have the sardines butterflied but still intact and the back bone in as well. With my hands I used my right hand and two finger to hold down the two fillets. With my left hand I grabbed the back bone and pried it away from the two fillets. It should come away fairly easily. Again stop right before the tail because the tail is keeping the two fillets together. Cut the back bone away from the tail, leaving the tail and the two fillets intact (see picture) The tail should be able to hold the two fillets together along with the skin of the fish. I rinsed them under cold water to clean any bones or blood off of the fish.
Season the sardines with salt and pepper and dredge them into the fresh ground black rice flour. In a saute pan with the olive oil on high heat add the sardines. Be careful not to over crowd the pan. Cook for about a minute on each side and then drain on a paper towel. Because the fish is so then it will cook really fast on high heat. The rice "breading" should be crunchy as well. To plate simply add the horseradish sauce to the plate, place the sardines on top and finish with some snipped chives.