Sicilian stuffed sardines

Mario Matassa’s recipe for sardines includes sultanas and pine nuts. You’ll have to remove the fish’s head but don’t be too fastidious about the bones. Just take out the main spinal bone and the larger bones will follow

Serves 4
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 5-7 minutes


• 2 slices of fresh white bread

• 50g dried fine breadcrumbs

• 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

• 1 tbsp sultanas

• 1 tbsp pine nuts

• 3 tbsp grated pecorino cheese

• 2 free-range eggs

• 16 fresh whole sardine fillets

• 3-4 tbsp olive oil

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Lemon wedges and parsley, to serve



Begin by making the stuffing. Put the fresh slices of white bread into a food processor and chop until fine. Place the fresh breadcrumbs into a bowl and add the parsley, sultanas, pine nuts and cheese. Bind everything together by adding one beaten egg.

2 Open out the sardine fillets. Place a tablespoon of the stuffing (depending on the size of the fish) in the centre and press down quite firmly. Lay another fillet over the top and press down again. Continue until all the fillets and stuffing have been used up.

3 Beat the remaining egg in a shallow bowl. Carefully dip the stuffed sardines into the beaten egg, and then coat with the fine dried breadcrumbs. Make sure the sardines are coated thoroughly. Finally fry the sardines in a little olive oil for about 2 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Serve hot with lemon wedges and parsley.