Back in 2010 I shared a similar recipe where I used Smelts, as it was the only fish I could source back then to satisfy a craving I had for a childhood fave… fry dry! I’ve since elevated my mom’s recipe to put my touch and lay some claim to it. No disrespect mom!
2 lbs sardines (cleaned)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 cups veg oil (for frying)
1 cup all purpose flour
2-3 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic (diced fine)
1 onion (sliced)
4 birds eye pepper
3 scallions (chopped)
- Season the oil with 2 cloves of garlic + 3 bird’s eye pepper.
Gut (or ask your fish monger to do it for you), clean and wash the sardines (use lemon or lime juice or vinegar along with cool water to wash the fish). Then season the cleaned Sardines with salt, black pepper, Caribbean Green Seasoning and curry powder. Mix well and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a wide pan on a medium flame, add the garlic and chili as it heats up. This step will flavor the oil a bit.
Dust the seasoned fish in the flour (shake off excess flour) and place the flour-dusted fish in the hot oil. Be careful when adding the dusted fish to the hot oil.
Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes.. a crust will form and you’ll get a dark golden color. Remove and drain on paper towels. Don’t crowd the pan, so I’d recommend frying then in batches. Vent your kitchen to avoid the entire house smelling like fried fish or cook outdoors if you can.
Once the fish are all fried, it’s time for step two. Heat 3 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan.. while the oil is still cold add the onion, scallion, birds eye chili and garlic.. bring it up to a simmer and allow it to gently fry and flavor the oil. It will take about 4-5 minutes.
Place the fried Sardines in a heat-proof bowl and pour the now seasoned hot oil over the fried sardines and toss to coat. Note – you can get away with using 2 tablespoon of the olive oil if you want to cut back on the use of oil.
If you recall we stared by flour dusting the fish before frying them. That flour crust will soak up the flavored oil and you’ll be amazed how delicious these will be.
Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and enjoy. Remember these will be spicy! Serve warm please.
Serve as a side or as a snack when enjoying adult beverages with your friends. Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @ CaribbeanPot.com/CookBook/