Frances Bissell's excellent recipes: baked sardines

PUBLISHED: 08:24 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 September 2010

Inexpensive, nutritious and tasting very good, this is an easy dish to make, and quantities can be multiplied for serving a larger number. Unless you are going to do it yourself, I suggest you order them in advance and ask for them to be scaled and gutted

Inexpensive, nutritious and tasting very good, this is an easy dish to make, and quantities can be multiplied for serving a larger number. Unless you are going to do it yourself, I suggest you order them in advance and ask for them to be scaled and gutted.

Eight or 12 sardines, scaled and gutted, with backbone and head removed

Sea salt

Black pepper

75 g/3 oz cooked couscous or rice

4 tablespoons ground almonds

12 mint or coriander leaves, plus extra for garnish

Handful of raisins or sultanas

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

A few black olives and/or plum tomatoes - optional

Bay leaves or myrtle leaves

Trim the sardines to a neat shape and remove any large bones and fins. Season each sardine lightly with salt and pepper and place on each opened out sardine a couple of teaspoons of couscous or rice.

Sprinkle on about the same quantity of ground almonds, and add a few raisins and a mint or coriander leaf. Fold over the sardine and secure it with a cocktail stick.

Prepare all the sardines in the same way and put to one side while you prepare the vegetables. In the olive oil gently fry the onion until golden. Spoon into an ovenproof dish and lay the folded sardine fillets on top. Add the olives or tomatoes if using them, and the herbs.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C, gas mark 4 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Tear up the remaining mint or coriander leaves and scatter over the fish before serving. You can also add a scattering of pine nuts or flaked almonds, and these will toast nicely in the oven.



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