Whole sardines are delicious and easy to cook. They require a little work at the table, but so does lobster, and I don’t hear many people complaining about that! This works best as an appetizer but can easily be made into an entrée portion or a light lunch. It’s best served with a salad of peppery greens such as young mustard, radish, or turnip greens and arugula.
For the sauce, sauté the shallot in 1/2 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. When it is translucent, add the wine and currants and simmer until the wine is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove from the heat, cut the remaining butter into small cubes and add them one at a time, swirling each in the pan until it is incorporated. Once they have all been added, you should have a thick, creamy sauce. Stir in the pine nuts and parsley. Season with a little salt.
Preheat the broiler.
For the sardines, gently scale the fish by running your finger from the tail toward the head. Do this under running water so the scales wash away. Using a paring knife, gently cut through the belly cavity and use the back side of the knife to scrape out the innards. Wash the cavity under running water. Pat the fish dry, then brush with the canola oil. Place the fish in a large baking dish in a single layer and season with salt. Broil for about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and broil the other side for 5 minutes.
Turn the fish onto a serving plate. Spoon the sauce over the sardines and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a first course or light entrée.