The last time I featured white onions it was for a dish from my mother's region, Emiglia-Romagna, called Friggione. This time I'm making a dish from my father's region, Veneto, called Sarde in Saor - sweet/sour pickled Sardines.
From humble beginnings as a way for fishermen to preserve fish for long sea journeys, it's now a much loved favourite of the region where you'll find it commonly served as "cicheti".
250 grams sardines
1 white onion, finely sliced
250mls white wine vinegar
30 grams sultanas
30 grams pinenuts
The main ingredient is fresh sardines, you may be able to buy them filleted or whole like these.
If you've bought them whole, you going to have to remove the head, gut them and then remove the spine, leaving the tail in place.
Once they have been cleaned, dust them in flour, season with sea salt and then quickly fry them off in a little oil. Place the sardines on paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Pour a generous glug of oil into a pan and cook the onions very slowly until they have softened but not coloured - aim for about 20 to 30 minutes. Increase the heat and pour in the vinegar along with the sultanas and pinenuts. Cook this for a couple of minutes and then remove from the heat.
Use a terracotta or heat resistant bowl and arrange a little of the onions on the base of the dish. Cover this with a layer of sardines, followed by more of the onion mixture - depending on the size of the container, repeat the process ending with onions. Finish off by pouring over any remaining liquid. Seal and store in the fridge overnight.
I've served this cicheti-style, on grilled slices of ciabatta.