Lemon-Cured Sardine Crostini

One thing I had not planned on doing this week was gutting and filleting a bunch of sardines. Nope... wasn't on my agenda. But yesterday I found myself hovering over the kitchen sink, removing all those fun bits and very carefully running a paring knife through each one. I struggled at first. They're fragile little dudes and because my filleting skills aren't the best, they definitely didn't look pretty. By the end, though, I started to get the hang of it. And, really, that's the hardest part of this recipe (maybe if you ask nicely you can get someone at the fish counter to clean and fillet them for you). The rest of it comes together quickly. Just some seasoning and lemon and then they head for the refrigerator to chill and get their cure on. 

We head off to the Berkshires later this week where we'll be spending time with my parents, sister and her family. It'll be nice to get away for a little bit. I plan to leave my camera at home... as much as I love what I do, a break is needed. Of course, I'll still have my phone with me to capture all the cute things my nieces do and I'm sure there'll be a few posts on Instagram of places Eric and I stop off to eat. 

Lemon-Cured Sardine Crostini with Ricotta and Fennel

8 sardines, cleaned and filleted
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (white and light green sections only)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon

1 baguette, sliced on a bias and toasted
Whole-milk ricotta
Capers, drained
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Place the sardine fillets in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Sprinkle with some of the fennel and a few lemon slices. Repeat with remaining sardines, fennel and lemon. Pour the lemon juice over the sardines and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure to press down so it touches the fish. Weigh down with glass jars and refrigerate for 24 hours. 

To assemble the crostini, spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta on each slice of bread. Top with 1 sardine fillet, fennel, capers and chopped parsley.