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Sautéed Sardines with Fennel, Olive and Mint Salad (Photo © Stephen Peck)

Sautéed Sardines with Fennel, Olive and Mint Salad

Sustainable Seafood Recipe

In this robustly flavored dish, sardines are quickly sautéed until golden and crisp, then paired with a mustardy salad for a lovely lunch or light supper. Serve with lots of crusty bread, and for dessert, a juicy nectarine and blackberry crisp.

Wild-caught sardines from the U.S. are a "Best Choice."


Ingredients
  • (Serves 2)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crusted
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 whole sardines (about 9 ounces total), scaled and cleaned

Directions
Combine the mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of oil. Mix in the olives, mint and fennel seeds. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Place the fennel in a medium bowl. Add half the dressing and toss to coat.

Brush the sardines with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, turning to coat well. Coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil and warm over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the sardines, in batches if necessary (do not crowd), and cook until browned and just opaque in the center when pierced with a small, sharp knife, about 2 minutes on each side.

Divide the salad between 2 plates. Arrange 3 sardines on each place. Spoon the remaining sauce over the sardines and serve.

Hints from the Chef

  • To remove the fine scales from a sardine, run the fish under cold water while scraping lightly toward the head with the edge of a small knife.
  • To clean a sardine, cut the belly open and remove the insides with a spoon. Or, ask the fishmonger to clean it for you.


Kristine Kidd
RECIPE BY:
Kristine Kidd, Monterey Bay Aquarium Food Editor

CONSERVATION NOTE
Best Choice Sardines

Sardines

Wild-caught sardines from the U.S. are a "Best Choice."
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