250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine, warmed80 gm (½ cup) sultanas½ tsp saffron threads80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil12butterflied sardine fillets, halved lengthways2baby fennel, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin, fronds reserved100 gm (1 cup) fresh coarse breadcrumbs, toasted (crusts left on)25 gm (1/3 cup) flaked almonds, toasted¼ cup coarsely chopped chives2lemons, finely grated rind only400 gmdried ziti (see note)To serve:lemon halves
Heat white wine in a frying pan over medium heat, add sultanas and saffron, remove from heat and cool. Season sardines with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, cook sardines in batches for 2 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Keep warm.
Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat, cook fennel for 5 minutes or until tender, add sultana mixture, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes or until liquid is almost evaporated.
Combine ½ cup (loosely packed) fennel fronds, breadcrumbs, almonds, chives, lemon rind and season to taste.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until
al dente, drain and return to pan. Add sardines and half the breadcrumb mixture to ziti, toss gently to combine and serve immediately, scattered with remaining breadcrumb mixture and lemon halves.
Note Ziti is a long, tubular pasta with a diameter similar to
penne. If unavailable substitute with long hollow pasta such as
bucatini or penne.