OK these are our sardines but they were called pilchards or scaly mackerel until they worked out that sardines sell better.
This recipe works by frying the butterflied fish first then pouring a marinade over them,letting them sit in the frig for a few hours.Very summer dish.
The version I make involves white wine vinegar,white wine,orange juice & zest,onion ,bay leaf ,chilli ,sugar,parsley,pine nuts & raisins
I assumed with those flavours it was a Sicilian dish. Then one of our Aussie /Italian chefs did it on TV & said it was a Venetian dish (northern)& the southern ingredients were explained by the Venice being a maritime power back in the day & trading all over.He was from Venice& said the Venetians gave the dish back to the southerners.
Anyway I mentioned this to an old Sicilian guy(lots in my 'hood) & he hit the roof. As best as I could understand from the explosive mix of English & Sicilian dialect was that the Venetians stole stuff from all over Italy & the only thing they gave back was risotto & gondoliers .He was so mad I thought for a moment he said gonorrhoea ,because getting that from a Venetian would make you cranky.But he did actually mean the singing oarsman. Italians can get pretty parochial about food.
Anyway its sardele in soar in north ,Carpione in the centre &sarde aggro dolce in the south.
I will set it out shortly.
You could use the sardines Leah uses & chargrill them or smoke them whole. These are a bit delicate & I need to flour them & shallow fry.