I really love pilchards (Sarde in Italian), and every time I find them by my usual fishmonger I always buy them.
Like all the fish of that kind (in Italy we call all these fish pesce azzurro), it is a very healthy fish, with high contents of Omega 3, which is good for the health of the brain and the heart, and other important good properties (and healthy unsaturated fats), moreover it is also one of the cheapest fish, so it’s simply perfect 🙂 very important: it has to be very fresh, because this kind of oily fish doesn’t last long.
Famous is the typical Sicilian recipe “pasta con le sarde“, made with wild fennel, or also the “sarde a beccafico” (both the versions of Palermo and Catania).
But in this case I did it by my own, without following any particular recipes, and you can trust me: it is very good. Nothing particular, I simply used few ingredients, as always, carefully selected for their quality, and the result could never be bad 🙂
INGREDIENTS (2 people):
- 200 g long pasta (I used spaghettoni)
- 200-250 g of fresh European pilchards
- 100 g of yellow tomatoes (I used yellow datterini tomatoes in jar, preserved in their juice, but of course you can use fresh tomatoes when it’s the season)
- a bunch of fresh parsley
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- the zest of half lemon, untreated
- chili (optional)
- extra virgin olive oil
- First of all clean the pilchards: it’s very easy, break the head and remove the interiors, then push your thumb in the middle of the fish, pushing through all its length on the central bone, opening it in half, and simply remove the bone.
- Take a pot, heat the water, add salt and start boiling the pasta.
- Meanwhile take a pan and heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. When it’s hot add the garlic, and remove it when it gets some color. Then add the yellow tomatoes and soon after the pilchards, the chili (if you want) and also a little bit of water. Cook at medium heat for about 6-7 minutes, then put on the minimum. Season with salt.
- When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the fish, add also a ladle of boiling water and set the heat higher. Mix together for 30-60 seconds. Add also the freshly chopped parsley.
- Serve it, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the lemon zest. Enjoy 🙂
PS: to give also a crunchy note, I suggest to add at the end some chopped unsalted pistachios 😉
Pasta: spaghettoni from Pastificio Gentile
Tomatoes: Datterino giallo intero in succo “Così com’è”