Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sardine and Anchovie Adventure

How many times have you told someone:
"I went out for a 2 hour paddle, wound up with a bag of squirming sardines and anchovies in my lap..."
Well, I have.
: )

This was a totally unexpected treat!
I was kayaking on Sept 17th and paddled up to one of those big bait barges by the Jetty (next to "The Wedge" in Newport Beach, CA) that had a sign that said "Sardines".
I'm a sucker for "bait fish", so I asked the guy if it was possible to buy some.
He said they sell them to fishermen by the gallon but would be happy to give me a few in a bag if I had a place to stick them in my kayak.
$2.00 later (totally within budget!), I paddled away with a bunch of them on my lap...
That didn't last long cuz the wriggling was beginning to freak me out, so I stuck them on my deck and hoped that a huge bird didn't realize my stash.
 ; )

Talk about an impulse buy.
But how could I have resisted since I had a bunch of fresh basil, heirloom tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella boconccini waiting for me at home!?!

One big problem.
It was a super hot day and the tide was totally against me by this time, so I knew I still had a little over an hour worth of paddling to get me back to NAC, and I didn't want the little fellas to kick the bucket too soon.
Luckily, I'm almost always prepared for anything, and that's no exception when in a kayak. I actually had my running shoes packed in a dry bag "just in case".

Perfect. Now I had a plan.
 I decided to paddle to the Coast Guard Beach as fast as possible, where I refreshed the salt water for the little fellas and stashed the kayak till my return.
 I then ran the 3.65 miles back NAC to grab my car, stopped at a market for a bag of ice, and retuned quickly ro claim the goods.
The entire run, I was going over the inventory in my fridge.
Oooh, I knew I had a tons of options.

The Adventure Begins

Aw, how I love tomatoes
which terrible picture of tomatoes is the better terrible picture?
This one?

 Or this one?

 Heirlooms, salt, pepper, nothing more

 Add some radicchio, basil, olive oil, a little heat, start heating things up....

This was my first time dealing with live, whole fish.
This is me getting prepped to attack the little fishies

Decisions. Decisions.
Which would you choose?
 I'd love it if you'd share a picture of your favorite knife with me!

They finally "relaxed"
"one of these things is not like the other..."
Some sardines, anchovies, and one random little guy who may have been a grunion...

 Let's see him from a different angle

It took me quite a while to get used to lopping off their little heads...
 Whoa, it was sure "interesting" chopping heads off fish and pulling guts for the first time especially since those little fellas had been in my lap, wriggling, for a while in my kayak.
: /

I think my expression says it all.
Luckily that went away after I got through a few of them.

Heads off guts gone 

fish heads fish heads rolly polly fish heads...

 This is what the fish heads looked like to me up until about the 5th one

 I became strangely obsessed with this pile of fish heads

 de-boning not as easy as one might think...especially when that fresh...2 hours outta the water

: )

Stay tuned for the next meal where the bones make and extra special guest appearance
: )

About to get "dressed"

 Brusccetta and bocconcini topped with fresh anchovies

Ok, this proves it, I take horrible pictures of beautiful food.
 and yet another view

This was the little grunion
olive oil; Italian parsley; salt 2 minutes @ 350 degrees

Fresh Raw Anchovies
 Mmm, I loved this prep!
fresh finely chopped raw ginger, green onions, sticky rice, lime, green onion, ginger, and salt

Fresh Raw Sardines
in lime juice with green onions, ginger, and salt
with sticky rice
terrible picture, delicious dish

Our random fish
(later identified as a grunion)
dressed and looking good enough to eat
cooked at 350 degrees for 2 minutes with just salt and pepper atop sticky rice

 I love my dining room table and my simple plates...the food gets to speak for itself

From another angle.
Which terrible pic do you like best?

 Our Favorite prep!
Fresh Anchovies and Sardines gently baked at 350 for 2 minutes, marinated in white balsamic, olive oil, Italian parsley, garlic, salt and pepper, garnished with thin slices of raw garlic.

 Anchovies gently baked at 350 for 2 minutes with only salt and pepper.
These guys make an encore performance in our next meal...stay tuned.

Let the tasting adventure begin! 

A little sweaty, a little tired, but very happy with the outcome

So pretty and tasted so good
Please ignore the finger nails
I assure you it's not dirt, just food prep stuff

Finger licking good

 "...this was just alive how many minutes ago?..."

 Can't forget about the kitties!
Even they got to enjoy some of the adventure.
: )

You never know what you'll come home with when you go kayaking.
It was my first time cleaning live fish. Interesting, fun, but so worth it!

Stay tuned for round two:
Slow Roasted Fish Bones!
: )

No comments:

Post a Comment