Monterey Bay Seafood Watch has been both celebrating the return of the sardine–the “traditional” commercial fish of Monterey Bay–and encouraging local consumption of it, as a good choice of sustainable seafood. Accordingly, Phil’s Fish Market–where everyone goes for seafood around these parts–offers an affordable dish of grilled sardines; they come with a buttery lemon-caper sauce.
Anyone thinking of those tiny little fishies packed into sardine tins can think again; these sardines are a lot bigger and meatier. I had three sardines on my plate, and believe it or not, I was full by the end of the meal.
There is one problem, however. While tinned sardines can be eaten whole, bones and all, fresh-caught sardines caught in the Monterey Bay have a fine, yet more formidable bone structure, and I for one would rather not try to crunch through them.
So, my companion, Michael, showed me how to de-bone my sardines right in the restaurant: