I've been obsessed with fresh sardines since I had them at one of my favourite sushi restaurants. Although I'd never had them before, I just assumed that they would be really salty and oily. Like anchovies, with which I frequently confuse them.
But do you know how hard it is to find sardines in Los Angeles? I'm talking about fresh sardines, with their heads still on and all. Rumor has it that they can be found in Korean and Japanese markets, but none of the ones I've gone to so far carry them, or didn't have them that day. They also come by special delivery to a fish market in the area, but there is a waiting list approximately 50 people long and if you can't pick up the sardines right away when they get a delivery in, you lose out.
So imagine how happy I was when whilst visiting my friend in DC, we found fresh sardines at Whole Foods while shopping for dinner. (My friend? Not as thrilled. I think it's because their heads were still on.) I had to have some! Rah for sardines!
By the way, cleaning sardines isn't as easy as instructions would have you believe. Just pop off the head with your thumb, pull out the spine, remove any small bones, and that's it! HAHAHA. To say that the kitchen area where I was working looked like a mini fishy crime scene is not an exaggeration, with guts and bones everywhere.
However, the prepared sardines were still delicious, if a little full of bones because I got bored of deboning them. It makes the eating process more exciting if you have to worry about choking.
Next time I find sardines, I'm wondering if the fishmonger will be able to fillet them for me, because I just don't have the patience. But I'd be willing to work on my technique, once I find them in LA. I don't want to have to fly to the East coast every time I want to prepare sardines myself.