Crisp bites of crumbed and fried fresh sardines, served with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Perfect with a cold beer.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 20 very fresh sardines, ideally about 10 cm (4 in) in length, filleted
  • 50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • 50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) dried breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for pan-frying
  • sea salt
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Serves 4 as an appetiser.

  1. Wash the filleted sardines and pat them dry with paper towel. Tip the flour into a bowl, whisk together the egg and milk in a second bowl, and pour the breadcrumbs into a third. Dust one fillet at a time in flour (on both sides), dip in the egg wash and then drop into the breadcrumbs, making sure it is well coated. Place each crumbed sardine on a plate.
  2. Pour olive oil into a large shallow frying pan to a depth of 3–5 mm (¹⁄8–¼ in) and heat over medium–high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add five to seven fillets (depending on the size of your pan) and cook for 1 minute or until the breadcrumbs are golden. Turn them over with tongs and cook the other side for less than a minute. Remove and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining sardines.
  3. Season the sardines with sea salt and serve hot with lemon wedges. If you were in Trieste and it was summer you would probably enjoy them with a cold beer.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00