These make a great snack or starter; you can have everything prepared ahead and simply fry the sardines when your guests arrive.
- 1 tsp each fennel seeds and coriander seeds
- ⅓ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ½ preserved lemon, flesh discarded, rind finely chopped
- For dusting: seasoned plain flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 400 gm fine fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
- 18 butterflied sardines
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- To serve: lemon wedges
- 200 gm good-quality mayonnaise
- 60 gm cornichons, finely chopped
- 30 gm baby capers in vinegar, drained, finely chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 2 small golden shallots, finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp finely chopped dill
- To taste: lemon juice
- 1For tartare sauce, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice. Refrigerate for 1 hour for flavours to develop.
- 2Dry-roast spices in a small saucepan (10-20 seconds), then finely grind in a mortar and pestle. Combine in a bowl with parsley and preserved lemon.
- 3Place sardines skin-side down on a tray. Scatter with parsley mixture, then fold lengthways to enclose filling. Place flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Carefully coat sardines first with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between, and refrigerate on a tray until required.
- 4Preheat oil in a deep saucepan to 170C. Deep-fry sardines in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (2-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, then serve hot with tartare sauce and lemon wedges.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of .
Drink Suggestion: Crisp dry white such as vermentino. Drink suggestion by Max Allen