Fresh Sardines with Lemon and Bread Crumbs
1 dozen fresh sardines, cleaned and de-boned (see notes below)
4 1/2-inch slices of a country or puglisi loaf, torn into pieces
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp herbs de provence
Salt and fresh pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8"x11" casserole dish with cooking spray.
To make the bread crumb stuffing:
Place torn bread pieces into a mini-food processor and process until you reach a uniform, bread crumb consistency. Transer crumbs to a large, rimmed baking sheet and toss with the herbs de provence, 3 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, until evenly distributed. Bake in an even layer until lightly toasted and golden, approx. 6-8 minutes, tossing once mid-way through. Remove from oven and transfer bread crumbs to a large bowl. Increase oven temp to 450 degrees. Add parsley, garlic, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and 2 tbsp olive oil to the bowl and toss well.
To stuff and roast sardines:
Stuff the cavity of each sardine with 2 heaping tablespoons of the bread crumb mixture. Gently place stuffed sardines into the casserole dish, resting on their sides, so that they are snug and touching. Top with remaining bread crumbs. Drizzle sardines with 3 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 6 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove from oven and drizzle the juice of the lemon over the sardines. Serve immediately.
Notes on cleaning and deboning sardines:
- Ideally, your fishmonger will clean (take out the guts and remove the scales) your sardines.
- If the sardines are not cleaned, then you need to make a slit in along the bottom length of the fish and pull out the blood and guts (it's not as gross as it sounds). Then, remove the scales by running the dull edge of a knife against the grain of the scales (from tail to head lengthwise). Do all of this under cold, running water in a sink.
- Using a sharp paring knife, remove the top and bottom fins, being careful not to cut away more than necessary to get the fin.
- Then, cut the head off just behind the gills and discard.
- Using your thumb and pointer finger, grab the spine where it connected to the head and gently pull it and the rib cage away from the meat of the sardine's filets, leaving the two filets connected in one butterflied piece. Holding the tail with your other hand, firmly separate the spine from the body and discard. Don't worry too much if there are some tiny rib cage bones left behind -- they're edible.
It is OK to email this member (but you must sign in first).