A while back I was at Marukai Market, and picked up a package of four whole sardines for about a dollar. What was I going to do with them? I had no idea, but was sure I could come up with something.
After a while, I decided I wanted to stuff them with bread crumbs, cheese and herbs, and pan fry. So I got to work.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and discovered that these fish were whole. I mean completely whole, guts and everything included. It looked like I had to learn how to gut a fish.
It actually wasn't too bad. And by that, I mean it was thoroughly disgusting and I really don't ever want to do it again. I learned two things: fish guts are gross, and sardine skin is incredibly fragile. But in the end, I had 8 fillets, relatively intact. I had been aiming for whole (so I could stuff them), but that apparently doesn't happen once you pull out the spine. Oh well, on to Plan B - no stuffing just rolled around in seasoned bread crumbs, and fried in a little oil.
Tasty? Heck, yes. These taste nothing like sardines from a can. They taste like...well...fish. Good fish. Crunchy fried fish. So good, that I'm now on the lookout for more (already cleaned) sardines.