I like sardines very much. This is why I like to eat them lightly cured in coarse sea salt and lemon juice.
Natalia, my trusted culinary advisor, considers the dish a “sushi” dish, due to the very short duration of the curing process. In her honour, I have renamed it “Sushi” Greek Sardines. I added the word “Greek” because of the olive oil and the lemon.
I usually buy them from the fishmarket of Lavrio, a small town near Sounio, near the tip of the south peninsula of Attica. The fishing boats supply the local sellers with top quality fish.
The difficult part of this recipe is that you have to do the dirty work before you enjoy the fruits of it.
This means descaling, gutting and filetting.
If you are brave enough, the story continues as follows.
The benefit of doing the dirty bits yourself is that you get to know how fresh each fish is. The fresh fish has firm flesh, that bounces back if you press it. While knifing and cleaning, you see for yourself the fresh ones. If there are fish that get squeezed easily, throw them away, they are stale.
After you have the fillets ready, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of coarse sea salt over them and squeeze a lemon. Add a bit of water so that all fillets are covered.
Leave them to rest for 30 minutes.
The objective of this light curing is to cut the acidity of the raw fish. You do not want to make it salty of bitter. After the thirty minutes are gone, throw away all the liquid, clean the fillets throughly so that there is no particles on them and place on a shallow dish.
You must taste them at this stage, They must taste sweet with just a hint of salt and lemon, no more than that. All the seasoning that you want, you can add at this stage.
Sprinkle olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt over them and serve.