• Fried sardines with aioli (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Sardines are a quintessential Spanish delicacy. Fresh sardines are a revelation. Try them simply fried with a garlicky mayonnaise.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (25 votes)


  • 12 large fresh sardines
  • 1 cup sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 50 g Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 100 g plain flour, for dusting
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 lemon wedges, to serve
  • finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish 



  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • ½ lemon

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.


For the aioli, add the egg yolk, oil, garlic and salt to a tall jug, and blend with a hand-held blender until emulsified and is the consistency of thick mayonnaise. Season to taste with lemon juice. Transfer to a small serving bowl and chill until serving.

Remove the heads and spine from the sardines and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle sardines with salt.

Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley.

Coat the sardines in flour, shaking off excess, then the beaten egg, then the breadcrumb mixture.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and when hot, add the sardines, in batches, frying for 1 minute each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Arrange the sardines on a platter with the lemon wedges and aioli. Sprinkle with sea salt and parsley.


This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.