Lets play sardines

Apart from the ubiquitous salt cod, fresh sardines are, of course  Portugal´s national dish, especially char-grilled.Summer holidays are in full swing,and it appears the Portuguese are staying at home( crise economica ). The Algarve is awash with the northern population of the country coming south. Before the crates of sardines are tipped onto the cold slabs of the fish market, the restaurants are grilling them, the villa terraces are grilling them and the residents backyards are notifying their neighbours its good old sardines for lunch. Here is a modern twist on the traditional way of preparing them.It has to be done indoors alas and you will still fill the house with that ubiquitous smell, but never mind its worth it.Throw open the windows, lap up the omega goodness of fresh fish, and forget the crise.

Beer batter fried sardines and lime
Frying the lime wedges gives them a lovely golden colour and enables the juice to squirt right into your eye or onto you new shirt with the slightest pressure.

Serves 2
1/2 cup Sagres beer ( substitute a lager but not dark beer)
1/2 teaspoon Castro Marim Flor de sal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 kilo Cleaned and gutted sardines ( you can remove heads bone and tales if you choose)
1 Lime
4 cups vegetable oil

In a bowl whisk beer and salt into flour until smooth.Drain sardines and pat dry. Cut lime into 8 wedges.
In a 3 litre saucepan heat the oil over a moderately high heat until the thermometer registers 375º F. Working in batches of about 6 and holding sardines at head end to avoid breaking, dredge fish in batter to coat completely, dragging lightly against the side of the bowl to remove excess, and fry, stirring, until golden, 2-3 minutes. With a slottted spoon transfer the sardines as fried to paper towels to drain. Fry the lime wedges in oil until they begin to turn golden, about 30 seconds, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve sardines with lime.


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