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Sardinas Rebozadas


These battered and fried sardines are popular around Spain. Rebozada means battered, and you can find lots of different “rebozada” recipes involving different fish, meats, and vegetables throughout Spain. When Rosa was a little girl, she and her siblings used to call these battered and fried sardines “pastelitos” because they looked like little cakes (pastel is the Spanish word for cake). Her mom enjoyed having the kids excited to eat sardines, so the name stuck. The whole family, including the next generation of kids, still calls these pastelitos, and everyone still loves them.


Most of the work in this dish involves cleaning the sardines. You have to gut them and pull the spine out leaving a big flat filet, which is then battered and fried. You can see a quick instructional video here on how to prepare the sardines. This particular batter is as easy as it gets, with just egg, flour, salt and pepper.


This is the sort of dish that you might enjoy in someone’s home as the center of a light meal, or as a tapa, sitting on a terraza on a hot summer day. I can’t eat sardinas rebozadas without thinking of summertime in Spain, but they are great any time of year. Serve with a nice cold lager.


You can leave the tail on as a little “handle” to help pick up and eat these after frying, or you can pull it off. I’ve seen it done both ways.


Ingredients

1½ lbs Sardines, scaled and gutted.


For Batter:

3 eggs

½ cup flour

Salt and fresh ground black pepper TT


Oil for frying


To serve:

Coarse salt

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Lemon wedges


1. Remove the head and spine from the sardines. Once the guts are removed, cut off the head right behind the gills. Gently get a finger underneath the spine. Use a finger on each side of the spine to hold the flesh down so the filets don’t tear, while using the other hand to pull the spine out. The ribs should stay attached, but you can gently run a knife over the filet afterwards, to get up any pin bones left behind. You should be left with a flat open triangular boned out piece of fish with both filets attached. See the video below for more details.



2. Make the batter: Beat the eggs well in a bowl. Add the flour and mix until it forms a homogeneous batter. Stir in the salt and pepper.


3. Batter and fry the sardines: Bring about ½” of oil up to 350F in a large heavy bottomed pan. When hot, dip a sardine into the batter, coating with the batter, letting any extra batter drip back off into the bowl. Carefully place into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown. Turn over and fry until the other side is golden brown. You can fry several at a time, but don’t overcrowd the pan. As the second side gets brown, use a slotted spoon to remove and drain on paper towels.


Serve hot, fresh from the fryer. To serve, sprinkle with a little coarse salt, and a little of the parsley. Allow the diners to squeeze lemon juice on to taste.

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