Spanish Style Sardines is a different variant of cooking sardines where fish is pressure cooked in oil, other methods known is cooking in brine or tomato sauce. This food item is known for its preserved or canned versions which are easily available in supermarkets and even convenience store so it is seldom prepared at home. But for this post we will make our own home made version of the Spanish Style sardines. In fact the title is a bit misleading as sardines is a type of fish and that’s not the fish I will be using for this recipe, but since it is a popular term in Philippines to use sardines as the dish rather than the fish I will be using it otherwise.
When I was a child I remember my mom always cook this dish as it has a longer shelf life and I must say they taste better than tinned counterparts, she always uses the small sized milkfish (bangus) which is not available here in New Zealand, so I will opt in for the larger version we will just slice it up, they are the same fish anyways the only difference is the size. The fish is filled with bones everywhere that’s why I guess it never became popular for use in Western cuisines even it has a really good taste, deboning the fish will be a nightmare as the bones don’t just reside in the central part it is also evenly distributed in the meat, they are also as thin as a hair strand but still tough that it can prick your tongue. That’s why I guess this is the most appropriate cooking method for this fish as when you pressure cook it, the bones will just melt when you start to eat it. So if you want to enjoy the taste of a better sardine, try this at home.
Generously cover milkfish with salt and set aside for at least one hour.
Rinse fish with running tap water.
Place the cooking rack at the bottom of the pressure cooker (this prevents fish from sticking at the bottom), then place fish, chilli, bay leaf, carrots, cocktail onions and pickled gherkins. Pour white wine, fish sauce and olive oil. Make sure you fit everything nicely packed at the bottom and you have enough to cover the fish, otherwise add more white wine.
Bring close to boiling point then lower the heat. Close the pressure cooker then cook for 45 minutes.