Recipe: Sardine BLTs with Herbs and Lemon




How to:  Clean and filet sardines

Taste: Rich, strong, and slightly minerally; great for grilling whole.

Source: Pacific Ocean, Baja California to Monterey Bay and north to southeast Alaska.

Eco factor: Sardines are caught with little impact on the surrounding habitat and almost no unintentional harvest of other species. Full of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and iron; no pollutants.

How to choose and prepare: Sardines are sold fresh and whole. Look for fish that have bright eyes, shiny skin, and a mildly fishy aroma. Plan to cook them within a day of purchase. If your fishmonger doesn't sell sardines already cleaned, it's easy to do yourself.

Dwight Eschliman

Follow these 5 easy steps to prepare your sardines


1. Remove guts: Wearing gloves if you like, lay each fish on its side on a work surface. Cut through fish 1/4 in. from edge of belly along its length. Pull out guts and rinse fish.

2. Scale: Gently scrape fish from tail to head with your fingertips to loosen scales.

3. Trim: With kitchen scissors, cut off dorsal (top) fin and tail. Rinse fish and work surface.

4. Fillet: At collar below head, score slits in fish on each side just to the bone. Hold fish head with 1 hand. With index and middle fingers of your other hand, make a scissor shape; slide "blades" into slits on either side of fish and, sliding along backbone to the tail, pull fillets free from bone.

5. Cut fillets: Cut in half lengthwise and pull off any pin bones.