Buffet of fresh sardines are not anything like their tinned cousins; their flavor is wealthy and some distance more sensitive. Dressed with a miso glaze and augmented by way of rainbow carrots and sparkling fennel, this is an extremely good, mild meal.
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, divided
- 1 teaspoon natural cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 rainbow carrots
- 1 small fennel bulb with fronds, cored
- 8 large sardines
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Toasted sesame oil
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- To prepare the slaw, whisk together 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Rinse outer skin of carrots. Use a vegetable peeler to peel carrots lengthwise, creating long ribbons. Place in a mixing bowl. Next, slice fennel crosswise very thinly with a sharp knife or mandoline. Reserve fennel fronds for garnish. Toss brown rice vinegar mix with carrots and fennel. Set aside.
- If your sardines have not been gutted by your fishmonger, do this now. Slice each sardine along the length of the belly and remove the organs by gently pulling them out with your fingers; discard. Rinse sardines thoroughly under cool water. Drain on paper towels and blot dry.
- Combine miso, mirin, remaining 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic with a fork to make a paste. Arrange fish on a baking sheet. Brush insides of sardines with miso paste. Brush outsides with sesame oil.
- Roast sardines until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Using tongs, remove slaw from bowl, draining off any excess liquid, and divide among 4 plates. Top each with 2 sardines and finish with a few fennel fronds.