Venice: Sarde in Saor

1 kg very large sardines
1 kg onions
20 g roasted pine nuts
40 g sultanas
4 bay leaves
1 glass of white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
1 litre of frying oil
salt and pepper
black peppercorns
Venice: Sarde in Saor

Venice: Sarde in Saor. Open the sardines in half from the belly, remove the entrails, head and main bone. Wash them thoroughly under running water and dry them with kitchen paper. Heat the oil for frying. Flour the sardines in 00 flour and fry them. Drain them from the excess oil and dry them with kitchen paper. Slice the onions. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, pour the onions, add salt and pepper and brown them over low heat until soft. After about 10/15 minutes, blend them with the vinegar and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Create alternating layers of fried sardines and onion in a glass baking dish by inserting raisins and pine nuts and a few bay leaves in each layer. Place in the refrigerator to rest for at least one night. Just before serving, transfer the sardines in saor onto a serving plate and accompany them with the onion and slices of toasted polenta. Undoubtedly the best-known Venetian dish of all. Inevitably evolved over the centuries, the original preparation of sardines involved cooking the onion in oil and vinegar, then creating layers with fried sardines and placing them in terracotta containers. This was unquestionably the staple food of sailors as early as the 1300s on long days out at sea. Only later are sultanas and pine nuts added to “sweeten” the dish. A dry white wine such as Pinot Bianco dei Colli Euganei, a Soave or a Sauvignon are the perfect pairings for sarde in saor.