Various recipes for stuffed sardines can be found along the stretch of Ligurian Sea coast between France and Italy. Use very fresh sardines for the fullest flavour.
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 French shallot, chopped
- 2 tbsp roasted crushed almonds
- ¼ cup chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
- ½ lime, rind grated, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
- 1 red chilli, sliced, plus extra to garnish
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 140 g (2 cups) breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs, separated
- 6 sardines, boned and butterflied
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
- 2 handfuls of rocket
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.
Combine rice, garlic, shallot, almonds, coriander, lime rind, chilli, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp breadcrumbs and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, stir to combine until ingredients stick together.
On a flat plate, combine remaining breadcrumbs and coriander.
Gently squeeze 1 tbsp stuffing in your hand to firmly combine ingredients, making a tight sausage shape. Place stuffing on the inside of a sardine, then flatten so it sticks to the sardine.
Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl and whisk for 1 minute to thin out slightly. Dip sardines in egg white, then coat with the breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat process with the remaining sardines and stuffing.
Heat ⅓ cup olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook 2 sardines at a time, belly side down, for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel.
Meanwhile, place rocket in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season.
Place sardines on a serving platter with rocket leaves, extra chilli and coriander, and a wedge of lime.