Wednesday, February 17, 2010


With the start of lent on Ash Wednesday, the demand for fish based meals is on the rise. While salmon and tuna will get most of the attention I want to do my part and help an often maligned fish - the humble sardine.

sardine fillets© by Haalo

Sometimes it seems that just mentioning the word sardine puts people right off but if you can get them to eat it without  being aware of what exactly they are eating, most often than not, they will enjoy their sardine experience.

As kids growing up we always loved our fish fingers but they aren't exactly filled with quality fish. If you cut these fillets in half, these little sardines are the perfect size to make faux fish fingers and coated with Japanese breadcrumbs for that extra crunch, they are sure to give Birdseye a run for their money.

crumbed sardine fillets© by Haalo

Crumbed Sardines

8 sardine fillets
1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of milk
fine breadcrumbs
Japanese breadcrumbs

Prepare the fillets:
Slice the fillets in half by cutting away the backbone. Normally, I keep the backbone in but for this recipe it is better to remove it.

Crumb the fillets:
These fillets are double coated - first in fine breadcrumbs and second in Japanese breadcrumbs.  Having that fine layer of crumb helps the Japanese breadcrumbs to stick.

It's a simple process of dip into egg wash, then fine breadcrumbs, making sure you get a nice smooth coating. I recommend doing all the fillets to this stage before proceeding.

Then it's back into the egg wash followed by the Japanese breadcrumbs.

crumbed sardine fillets© by Haalo

These can be cooked straight away or kept in the fridge until ready to use.

To cook:
These will only take a minute or two - use a non-stick skillet that has been drizzled with a little olive oil and a knob of butter.

Cook over a medium-low heat until golden - you'll only need to turn them once. Place on paper towel to remove any excess oil before serving.

crumbed sardine fillets© by Haalo

You can eat these as they are, served with salad or vegetables or as I've done here as a sandwich filling.

crumbed sardine fillets© by Haalo

These olive bread rolls are filled with goat curd, red onion, golden tomatoes and mâche as well as the sardine fillets.


  1. One of my New Year's resolutions is to cook more fish. I must admit I'm one of those who'll think twice about sardines, but these look great. I'll give it a go. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Even after all this time, your photos still continue to remind me why I'm in this business. Love and best wishes.

  3. Here in the great Lakes we have Smelt.

  4. I love sardines. ;-) This recipe is a must try.


  5. Great - sardines have such a wonderful flavour and texture, bring them back to the table I say!

  6. Nothing better than a good Sardine! What a delicious fish, that can be tricked up in a number of different ways....and all at a bargain price!

  7. Thanks Adele - I hope you do give sardines a chance!

    Thank you so much Trig, that is so very kind of you - look forward to following your adventures now that you're back in England

    Hi Ed - maybe one day I'll get to try them, they look good

    Thanks Paz!

    Hear here Kurt!

    Very true Tresna - they are a bargain and just so tasty

  8. Great recipe - thanks! Read your post yesterday, then when picking up hangover cure sushi this morning, there were sardines and Japanese breadcrumbs right in front of me at the fishmonger. Subbed polenta for the first layer of breadcrumbs and it was grand. Served with a mayo/lemon dip. Yummy.

  9. Polenta is a great idea Catr!


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