If you’re lucky enough to get hold of fresh sardines, prepare them simply, either whole or in fillets, for an exquisite treat say Chowhounds. Gio dredges them in seasoned flour and pan-fries them in olive oil, then serves with a squeeze of lemon, while Joebob breads and deep fries them. Others grill them for a few moments before sprinkling on salt, pepper, and olive oil, which can be enlivened with a bit of smashed garlic.
alanbarnes “cooks” fresh sardines or anchovies in vinegar: Cover the fish in white wine vinegar and let stand for 4 hours or so. Rinse, sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and chile flakes, cover with olive oil, and let stand for another 2 hours or so. Serve on crusty bread.
Fresh sardines can be hard to find, but are sometimes available in Greek, Portuguese, or Spanish fish shops, according to porker.