Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 13, 2009
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO: You hold the sardine in your left hand (assuming you're right-handed), hold the head between your right thumb and forefinger, and snap the head back, then pull away to the right. Most of the gut will come with it. Then I slide my index finger along the ventral line, inside, to split the fish open. With my nail I scrape away any remaining black, leaving the bones.
I spread the fish open so it can be flattened rather. Then I empty the breadbox of its crumbs into an aluminum pie-pan — you wouldn't believe how many of those Lindsey has squirreled away — and add a little flour. I add salt and black pepper and shake it around to distribute it all.
I flop the butterflied sardines into this mixture, then fry them in olive oil in a black iron skillet. Last night I then lifted the fish out onto warmed dinnerplates and then deglazed the skillet with cheap Pinot Grigio and reduced everything to a kind of gravy to sauce the fish with. Then I fried a slice of bread, quartered into triangles, in what was left in the skillet.
Green salad, of course.
Viognier, Louis Preston, 2006