Sicilian crumbed sardines

Serves Icon
Serves4
Time 20 Minutes
Ingredients
  • 500g fresh sardines, cleaned, butterflied – ask your fishmonger to do this for you or see note in step 1
  • 100g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 180g dried breadcrumbs
  • 15g Pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • A large handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 10ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges to serve
  • Sea salt
  • Canola oil, for frying

How to Make It
Step 1

Ideally ask your fish monger to clean and butterfly the sardines for you.
Alternatively, to clean the sardines: start by using a knife to scrape the scales from the tail up towards the head. Use kitchen scissors to chop off the head of the sardine. Take the scissors and cut the belly open, starting at the opening where the head used to be and cutting down the length of its underside. Cut off the dorsal fin. Open the cavity and remove, then discard the innards. Rinse the sardines under cold, running water. Place the sardine down on its open stomach and press down to loosen the backbone. Turn the sardine over and pull out the backbone, starting from where the head was and working all the way down to the tail to completely remove. Use scissors to cut off the side belly flaps and the tail. Use paper towel to pat the sardines dry.

Step 2

Place flour in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, grated pecorino and chopped parsley. Use a fork to lightly whisk the eggs and extra virgin olive oil in a third bowl.

Step 3

Coat one of the butterflied sardine fillets in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the flour coated sardine in the egg mixture, then coat in breadcrumb mixture. Place the crumbed sardine onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining sardines.

Step 4

Pour enough oil into a saucepan to cover the base of the large frying pan. Heat the saucepan over medium heat. The sardines are ready to fry when a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzle when dropped in the saucepan. When the oil is ready, place as many sardines that will fit in the frying pan in a single layer, without over filling. Cook for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

Step 5

Arrange the Sicilian crumbed sardines on a serving platter with lemon wedges. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature – buon appetito!

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