Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Given that it's a rainy and slow Tuesday, I'm playing with ideas for a tasting this weekend. People often ask me if I ever make food that is not good and the answer is not often, but today, I made something that was just not good. It sort of surprised me because when I imagine flavor combinations in my head, they usually work out. However, I was leery enough of this idea that I tested it out well in advance.

I was musing about fresh sardines today. And sweet and sour. And prosciutto. And the grill. Sweet, sour, salty, fishy: it sounded like a good start to a dish.

The idea was to debone the sardine and stuff it with a strongly sweet and sour mix including pine nuts and golden raisins, wrap the whole in prosciutto, and grill it. The execution was trivial and the possibilities for presentation were great: the proteins in the prosciutto shrink when heated and cinch the fish into a tight cylinder that can be sliced into rounds for presentation.

But the flavor! Yuck! The fish totally dominated the stuffing to the point where I could barely taste it and the combination of the salty pork combined in the worst possible way to produce wave after wave of revolting fishiness. Yuck!

Don't look for this on a menu any time soon!


  1. In my experience sardines have to be <24hrs from the sea, not 24 hrs from the boat. And iced from net to walk-in. I hope yours were, otherwise there could be "experimental confusion." (I'm not anonymous. I just don't recognize all of the identifier choices. Roger Hardy)

  2. Roger,

    All things considered, these are pretty fresh, as fresh as you'll find here in the US. We have them flown in directly from Portugal and from the airport driven directly here. And they are very tasty when simply grilled or pan-fried. Just for grins, we just tried a sorrel stuffing thinking that the lemony sorrel would stand up to the fish. Not a chance. We were just playing with ideas for kicks. Going back to a very simple preparation as we do always.