I buy Jimmy’s fresh sardines every time he has them to sell at our Market. They’re great value and have a great taste. They are a bit messy to clean though.
As the main part of a meal allow 3 small sardines per person.
Firstly clean them by cutting off the heads and scaling them. Make a cut lengthwise down the belly, scoop out the innards, gently open it flat and hook your fingers under the back bone and lift it out. Don’t worry about any small bones that may be left. Sometimes I trim off the tail. Wash and dry them.
They’re now ready to be cooked. One of my favourite ways is coated with parmesan and parsley breadcrumbs.
Firstly dust each sardine with flour which is seasoned with salt and pepper. Next dip it a mix of beaten egg that has a dash of milk added. Finally into the breadcrumb mix. You can use commercial breadcrumbs or make your own fresh ones. Mix in a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan and finely chopped parsley.
The sardines can be prepared in advance to this stage and put in the fridge until ready to be cooked.
Then heat some oil and a little butter in your pan. Add the sardines and cook till the breadcrumbs are golden. This should be only 1-2 minutes. Serve at once with wedges of lemon. Great with a peppery rocket salad.