Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If Something Smells Fishy...

It's probably my dinner.

I think I fell in love with Sardines on my first wine press trip to Portugal. Like anchovies on pizza, they were one of those foods that I knew from birth I was supposed to cringe at eating, even though I really hadn't tried them more than once.

Having had a bit of sense knocked into me while traveling in Spain and Portugal, I was happy to start to see sardines showing up on menus in San Francisco.

Monterey Bay is a sardine goldmine, and right in our back yard, so it's natural that they'd finally begin to be appreciated. They're also crazy cheap, which helps a whole lot for chefs looking to keep their food costs down.

Total food cost for tonights buckwheat-tempura fried sardine filets? Probably about $2. That's $1 for the fish, and maybe a buck for lemon, oil, cilantro and seasoning. I did have to gut them myself, but if you aren't willing to do that, you should probably be a vegetarian.

I was looking for a good wine in the fridge and, hurriedly, trying not to let my fish get soggy, settled on a 2009 Bodegas Castello de Medina Verdejo from Rueda.

At $10 a bottle, it's an equally impressive value, citrusy and fresh with an edgy, musky side to it, but it wasn't quite flavorful enough to stand up to the rich sardines.

When I opened the fridge, I was hoping to see a flash of pink in there. Like all gentlemen, I try to keep a bottle of Champagne and a bottle of rose in there at all times. On this occasion, my personal assistant let me down, and if I ever find him, he is certainly due a reprimand.

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