Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Sardines (Prawns) à l`Escabèche. This is a very popular French brasserie dish with Spanish roots that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or served as an antipasto/mezze .
Bascially, à l`Escabèche, means a dish that preserves fish by frying it, then pickling it. As the fish (such as sardines, prawns, or mackerel) absorbs the vinegary dressing over time, its flavor deepens, picking up the notes of the different ingedients of this dish. Following Dorie´s recipe those lovely flavors inlude rosemary, thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, chile, coriander and tomato paste.
The pickled vegetables (Dorie´s recipe calls for onion, carrots, celery and garlic) are considered to be a fantastic way to cut the oiliness of the fish, especially if you are using sardines. They are available throughout the winter but are at their best in spring. Sardines from Portugal, Spain and France are considered to be particularly good – since I learned from my fishmonger that I was late with my order and therefore could not get my hands on sardines in time (they are due to arrive at the beginning of the week), I opted for Dorie´s „Bonne Idée“ and went with the prawn version instead. Apparently, fresh sardines are not that popular around these parts - although I know a lot of people who consider them ideal for grilling and barbecuing.
Although, unfortunately, I was not able to try sardines in this recipe, I certainly did not regret making this dish with fresh prawns instead. The sweet, firm, meaty flesh of the prawns was delicious when paired with the pleasantly sour note of the pickled vegetables. Plus the prawns turned a lovely orange hue from the sweet sundried tomatoes and the tomato paste, very pleasant to the eye as well - which, as you might have noticed, is something I enjoy quite a bit.
Overall, we thought that this was a very tasty and different way to serve prawns. I also really enjoyed the versatility of this dish – you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week, enjoy it cold or at room temperature, on its own or an a bed of seasonal salad, or maybe with some nice grilled bread or as part of a mezze or antipasto spread.
To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the Sardines (Prawns) à l´Escabèche on pages 188-9 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".
I never was a big fan of sardines, but I have to agree with your fishmonger... the ones I had in Portugal were amazing, so if you ever get the chance, go for it. The shrimp truly seems like a much more appealing dish, so glad it was pleasurable for you.ReplyDelete
Diane, I will get a chance this week - I have eaten Portugese sardines before (there is a tiny Portugese restaurant not far from where we live) but grilled, not à l`Escabèche. I shall see wether I will also enjoy them prepared according to Dorie´s original recipe.Delete
Such a gorgeous arrangement of a fabulous recipe. I am sorry I could not find the sardines here in Pennsylvania because HubbyReplyDelete
really loves them. Many years ago, when we traveled the southern coast of France, he ordered them every chance he could. I did
the recipe this week using shrimp, and it was delicious.
Rosemary, sounds like you really enjoyed this week´s recipe - it was indeed delicious with prawns wasn´t it?!Delete
Thanks for sharing the fun story about your hubby ordering the sardines in the South of France every chance he could!
Hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend,
I have to agree there is nothing like sardines straight from Portugal! California harvests plenty and I managed to find some but they lacked that certain zing despite the fact that I did enjoy the dish. This undoubtedly have more to do with my mental associations with the dishes origin than it did with the raw ingredients and preparation themselves. Once again my dear, so beautifully photographed! I always so eagerly await to see your presentations here!ReplyDelete
Trevor, we all aim to please, don´t we?! Recently, I have had my issues with some of those dishes not being all that photogenic but in the end, everything turned out allright - liked the food, enjoyed the weather and made the Friday deadline. Who could ask for more?!Delete
Thank you for stopping by as I always appreciate your comments,
I think I will wait to make Sardine Escabeche until I can get really amazing sardines. At least I will be starting on the top rung of the ladder. However, the Shrimp Escabeche/ Prawns à l`Escabèche look as if they might be worth making soon. Sounds like a nice dinner for me with some crusty bread and a glass of wine (personally, I might prefer beer with this). Did you see that Nigel Slater's Chocolate Muscovado Banana Cake is featured in Food52's Genius Recipes cookbook? I can never thank you enough for turning me on to the recipe. Have you taken a look at the Genius cookbook, Andrea? I am liking it.ReplyDelete
Dera Mary, this was a wonderful recipe with fresh, sweet prawns and a hint of spiciness - just right if you ask me - sardines, even really good ones seem to be somewhat of an acquired taste for many people.Delete
No, I had not realized that my very favorite Banana Cake from Mr. Slater made the cut into the cookbook - but I am a tad bit proud to have blogged about this marvelous recipe. He is the best and I adore his writings - to my German mind, it is such a pleasure to read his English.Such a way with words.
Love your comment - thank you kindly, dear friend,
Not being a sardine lover, I was not looking forward to this dish. I was tryingo figure out a substitute when I gotta the flu, will try it with the prawns, looks yummy and nice & sunny!ReplyDelete
Lisa, hope you are all feeling much better now!Delete
Prawns are a wonderful, easy to handle and delicious substitute for sardines- but I will make this dish with sardines as I already ordered them and look forward to making them.
Thanks for stopping by,
I love the fish bowls you used to serve the prawns escabeche, Andrea. I would have enjoyed the pickled flavor better with prawns than sardines. I do love sardines grilled, but not so much in this marinate. I'm glad you got to try it as a bonne idee, though. Have a great weekend!ReplyDelete
Betsy, ah, those fish bowls/gifts...I love them though and every once in a while I take them out and include them in my posts. And you are absolutely right about those grilled Sardines - delicious indeed - I wonder weather I will enjoy those lovely little fish à l`Escabèche, we shall see.Delete
Hope you and Howard are enjyoing a nice, spring weekend,
I never had sardines from Portugal . I do love prawns and can see that this is a special dish . Your photos are lovely.ReplyDelete
Gerlinde, trust me, they are the very best! Try them on the grill and you will be in for a real treat.Delete
Gegrillte Sardinen in Meersalz sind eine Spezialität aus Portugal uns sehr lecker!
Herzlichen Dank für deinen Kommentar,
You even have a fish-shaped dish! Gorgeous photos, and glad you enjoyed this.ReplyDelete
Gaye, those fish plates were gifts from the kids - they love giving me these props for my birthday and I love using them. And we did enjoy the Prawns à l`Escabèche.Delete
Thank you for stopping by,
Looks beautiful, Andrea! I also really love the versatility of the dish and the idea of a mezze platter reminded me I want to make some turkish food! As always, a lovely post to read and to see!ReplyDelete
Katie, thank you very much - so glad that you enjoy this post. Once the sardines have arrived at my fishmonger, I will make sure to make this dish again using them and take pictures for our last month of FFwD.Delete
Thank you for the kind comment,
Your prawns look lovely, Andrea! When I originally read this recipe I didn’t see the Bonne Idee using Shrimp…so I made Cheez-it-ish crackers instead! Now I can’t wait to give this a try with shrimp! Your presentation and photos are beautiful! Have a great weekend!ReplyDelete
Kathy, I know that the recipe for the Cheez-it-ish crackers was wonderful - we loved it! So, I will visit your blog to take another look at these savory treats!Delete
you make every single thing like POETRY))!! xxx
Kim, you are such a wonderful person - thank you for your continued kindness!Delete
I think I would generally prefer the prawns over the sardines, anyway. We did just find some fresh sardines here, so I might try it. But I love prawns and may need to make both! Liebe Grüße - hope you have had a wonderful weekend! DavidReplyDelete
David, that´s what I thought in the end but since I eagerly watched so many videos on how to prep sardines, clean them etc. and since I ordered them already, I will re-visit the recipe this week and make few just to see how we like them.Delete
Liebe Grüße an dich und Mark,
I am glad the prawns worked well for you. It sounds like a wonderful meal but I don't like cold shrimp so I think I am going to have to pass on this recipe. On to next week.ReplyDelete
Well, Diane, then there will be no prawn cocktails in your future either, I guess...Delete
Hier in Peru ist Escabeche ein sehr beliebtes Gericht, aber Deine Version mit frischen Provencekräutern ist mir neu und klingt fantastisch.
Muß das unbedingt ausprobieren.
Liebe Grüße aus Lima
Liebe Daniela, da habe ich mal wieder was gelernt - ich muss zugeben, ich kenne mich nicht sehr in der Küche von Peru aus, aber ich schaue mir deine Kreationen "vor Ort" immer furchtbar gerne an und lerne dabei immer viel!Delete
Liebe Grüße an euch alle,
oh this is a beautiful dish Andrea...can imagine the deepening of flavors of these pickled prawns over time....must taste scrumptious over canapes too....brilliant flavors and vibrant food clicks as always....loved those oyster shell and fish shaped plates....they go so well with this dish,thanks :-)ReplyDelete
Very kind of you, ladies - glad you enjoy the plates, the dish and the photos - always nice to get some lovely and kind compliments from you!Delete
Your prawns look fabulous Andrea...and I can only imagine the taste of it paired with pickled vegetables...awesome pictures...very tempting!ReplyDelete