It has been some time since the last opportunity for cookery. The selection was made for me as Sally had bought fresh sardines and baby squid and there was only one recipe for each in Rick Stein's Taste of the Sea that fitted the bill. Actually cooking the fish took almost no time at all, but it took me the guts of two hours to prepare the fish (I'd never make it in a commercial kitchen!).
The sardines had to be butterflied which means flattening them out and removing the bones. You cut off the heads then slit the fish to just before the tail. Remove the guts and with the slit facing down, press on the back of the fish to flatten it out. Pull back the spine or backbone and snip it off just before the tail. Snip the fins off while you're at it and remove any egregious bones with a tweezers (fiddly!). I managed to take a lot of flesh off wth the bones on a couple of occasions, but I manage some damage control.
The prepared fish were then dipped in flour, egg and a parsley, parmesan cheese and breadcrumb coating and fried for not very long at all. They were delicious, but they were small and there was only one each.
Preparing the squid took even longer. There were quite a few of them and for each one you hold the body and pull the head off. Hopefully this takes much of the innards with it, including the ink sac. These were little ones so I didn't keep the ink. Then you cut off the tentacles and cut out the beak. Pull the quill out of the body (this looks like a piece of clear plastic) and then pull off the fins and remove the dark purpley skin. Wash out the inside of the body. Repeat (and repeat).
The tentacles were little so I didn't cut them up at all, but I cut the bodies into rings which I fried for a couple of minutes. I added mushrooms, two chopped cloves of garlic, two peeled and chopped plum tomatoes and a chopped and seeded chilli. More frying, watching the squid closely and as soon as it looked like getting chewy from over cooking I stopped.
I serve little boiled potatoes along side all this.
I was the only one who liked the squid and as a result there was enough left over for my dinner the next day. I added a little Sharwoods Chilli source as the existing chilli didn't bite hard enough for me and it was still nice. As the only thing there was of any bulk was the squid, this wasn't a success in terms of actually feeding the family, but I learned a lot in terms of all that fish preparation.