Baked sardine fillets

Theo Randall prepares a rustic Italian dish of Sardino al Forno with fennel seeds, parsley, pine nuts, chilli and breadcrumbs
By Theo Randall
Baked sardine fillets
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 12 whole sardines
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp pine kernels
  • 1 dried chilli, chopped
  • 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • tomato and basil salad, to serve

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

2. Scale the sardines and remove the gills and insides. Wash thoroughly under the cold tap water and pat dry with kitchen paper

3. Starting at the tail end, insert a sharp filleting knife on either side of the tail to lift up the fillet.

4. When you have lifted a good centimetre wide, using your knife, cut along the back bone to the head, pull the fillet towards the head and this should lift off the fillet without any of the tiny bones.

5. When you have all 24 fillets, lay half of them in a roasting tin, skin-side down. Season with salt and pepper, and half of the fennel seeds, grated lemon zest, parsley, pine nuts, chilli and breadcrumbs.

6. Repeat this so you form another layer, squeeze over the lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

7. Serve the sardines with a tomato and basil salad, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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