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Photo: Michael Schrom
I’ve yet to find a pasta dish using sardines that comes close to this Sicilian classic. Sardines: when they look like that, this is what you do.

Sardines are easily my favorite fish, and I’ve yet to find a pasta dish using sardines that comes close to this Sicilian classic. The smell of the fennel and the sardines cooking, simmering together along with tomatoes and raisins, is hypnotic. Because it demands fresh sardines, this dish should not be premeditated, but rather the natural result of happening upon glistening, gorgeous, plump fish at the market, so perfect and shiny that you blush and feel compelled to remark on their beauty.

When they look like that, this is what you do.