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Photos, Recipes & CookTales For Those Who Enjoy Cooking


Serves 2

A CookTale

In the Santa Croce District of Venice resides a small neighborhood restaurant, the da Fiore, that in spite of its reserve is considered the finest in the city. With our friends Phil and Rita, we dined there one evening, recommended by the concierge at our hotel, the Europa & Regina. I don’t believe that we knew how special this restaurant was. We simply ate well, but it was Venice and eating well is taken for granted. This preparation is an attempt to follow their sweet and sour technique called “saor”. Traditionally it’s served at room temperature but this is served directly from the pan.


8 Fresh Sardines (scaled, gutted, deboned)
6 ounces of baby yellow Potatoes (1/4″ sliced into coins)
1/2 a Fennel Bulb (cored & thinly sliced)
1 large Red Onion (thinly sliced)
2 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
1/3 cup of Black Olives (pitted & halved)
1/3 cup of Salt Capers (desalted)
4 TB of EVOO
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 cup of Vermouth
1 TB of Honey
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Mint or Cilantro Leaves


1. Salt the Sardines & douse them with EVOO & Lemon Juice. Set them aside to marinate while the other ingredients are being prepared.

2. With a mandoline, thinly slice the Fennel Bulb & the Red Onion. Add to a bowl. Heat 2 TB of EVOO in a large saute pan. Add the Fennel, Onions & Garlic & saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cup of Vermouth & half of the Lemon juice & the Honey & bring to a simmer. Add the Olives & the Capers. Turn off the heat & cover the pan.

3. In another frying pan, add 1 TB of EVOO & when it’s hot, saute the Potato coins until they’re golden & tender.Turn off the heat.

4. In a cast iron grill pan, add 2 TB of EVOO & when it’s sizzling, add the Sardines. Grill until brown & crispy. Turn carefully & repeat.

5. To assemble, Place a generous handful of the Fennel, Onion mixture. Arrange 4 Sardines in a fan shape around them. Add the Potato coins & a drizzle of EVOO & serve.

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