Sicilian sardines (filled baked sardines in lemon and orange)

Gennaro Contaldo adds a nutty but nice stuffing to citrus dressed sardines in this irresistibly tasty and gloriously healthy dish
By Gennaro Contaldo
Sicilian sardines (filled baked sardines in lemon and orange)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus 30 mins
  • Effort: easy



  • 8 medium fresh sardines, scaled, gutted and butterflied

For the marinade

  • 2 lemons, juices
  • 2 oranges, juices

For the filling

  • 100 g mixed nuts
  • 0.5 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp mint, finely chopped
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 0.25 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Fo the topping

  • 8 large fresh bay leaves
  • 8 slices oranges
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oranges, juices
  • 2 lemons, juices


1. Set the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Lay the sardines in a shallow dish and pour over the lemon and oranges juice. Leave for about 30 minutes, to marinate. 2. Meanwhile make the filling. Grind the mixed nuts using a mortar and pestle. Transfer them to a bowl, and then add all the remaining filling ingredients, except the fennel. Season to taste and mix well. 3. Remove the fish from marinade and pat dry with kitchen cloth. Lay the sardines on a clean work surface, season with salt and pepper, and then sprinkle the filling over the fish. Place the fennel slices on top.4. Drizzle with olive oil. Carefully roll the fish and ensure that you leave the tails sticking up in the air. Line up the filled sardines in a row and place a bay leaf and a slice of orange on each side securing each side with skewers. 5. Line an ovenproof fish with greaseproof paper and lay the skewered fish on top. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour over the orange and lemon juice. Serve immediately with a mixed salad.

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