Sicilian Sardines

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Sardines carry within them the intense flavor of the sea and they are cheaper than the fish I can find at the fish counter. This recipe is a travel memory. It was two summers ago on vacation in Sicily where I learned to appreciate first hand the recipes I had read about.

The combination of fish and dried fruit may seem strange, but the sweetness of raisins and pine nuts, mitigates the intense flavors of the sardines. This dish can please even the most demanding palate.

Sardines can be purchased without the head and spine and you can order them the day before at the fish counter. Removing the spine is simple, but I suggest you take the time to find them with their spines and heads removed.

Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes
(Serves 4)

16 sardines (spines and heads removed)
2 slices of bread
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 sprig of wild fennel (parsley can also be used as a substitute)
2 anchovies packed in oil
4 bay leaves
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Wash and dry the sardines. Grease a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Add the bread that has been broken into small pieces in a blender along with two anchovies, fennel, or parsley. Mix well then pour the mixture into a bowl and add the raisins and pine nuts.
  4. In a baking dish, add the sardines whose skin should touch the bottom of the pan then add a little of the mixture on top. Cover with another layer of sardines whose skin should be facing up, press the sardines down so that they are evenly arranged in the baking dish. This will form a small sandwich. Continue this process until you have 8 sandwiches.
  5. Season with salt and pepper then pour the remaining oil over the sardines. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with a tomato salad.


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