Popular in Sicily, sardines are readily available in Australia, already cleaned and butterflied. The sultanas and pine nuts in the filling are common ingredients in Sicilian cooking, having been introduced to the island by the Arabs. In , Elizabeth David cooks the sardines in butter instead of the traditional olive oil. We too prefer butter: it will leave your sardines golden and crisp and lends a lovely caramelised flavour.
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 150 gm coarse sourdough breadcrumbs
- 80 gm (1/3 cup) pine nuts
- 80 gm (1/3 cup) sultanas, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained
- 6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp each finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint
- 20 butterflied sardines
- 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
Fennel, lemon and orange salad
- 2 baby fennel, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 1Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and pine nuts, stir continuously until fragrant and lightly toasted (3-5 minutes), stir in sultanas, anchovy, herbs and lemon rind, season to taste and set aside.
- 2Lay a sardine on a work surface, flesh-side up, spoon a teaspoon of breadcrumb mixture over the top, roll into a spiral to enclose filling, secure with a toothpick and set aside. Repeat with remaining sardines and stuffing.
- 3For fennel and citrus salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and set aside.
- 4Heat butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add sardines, tail side up, scatter remaining stuffing around, cover and cook until cooked through (3-5 minutes).
- 5Transfer sardines and stuffing to a platter, serve hot with lemon wedges and fennel salad.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of .