Petingas (Little Sardines) or the Most Bizarre Thing I Ever Ate

Yuck! Gross! I don’t know how I was conned into eating them, but somehow, bizarrely, they’re great! Petingas are small sardines, about 2-3″, which are dredged in salted flour and fried in olive oil. Just close your eyes and try them. Yes, head, bones, tail, and all. I’m not sure how this American did it, but trust me, somehow they really are good. Like a salty, crunchy, fishy french fry. Here’s the recipe:

Find fresh or frozen petingas. You’ll probably need to find a Portuguese market or special order them from your local fish monger. If you’re using frozen, defrost them first.

Gut the little things. I thought this was not for the faint at heart, but it really is surprisingly easy. Take a pairing knife and slice through the belly at the base from pelvic fin to the anal fin.

Use the knife or your fingers to remove the guts (i.e. liver, intestines, etc).

Lightly salt the fish and then dredge in white flour.

Heat a pan with 1″ or so of olive oil and fry until golden brown and crisp.

Enjoy!  They are commonly served on broa, which is Portuguese yeast-risen cornbread.

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