Time to get back to basics and back on message, today we will be stuffing sustainable sardines. Sardines are a plentiful fish with good stockpiles here on Long Island. Although there are people who hear ‘sardines’ and start thinking ‘canned’, these are probably the same people who hear ‘Taco Bell’ and start thinking ‘fine Mexican dining’. Sardines are a ‘real fish’ they come whole in the fish market with no can in sight. So head down to your fishmonger and pick up a half dozen 8 inch or so sardines and invite some friends over for an uncanned experience.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 6 fresh sardines
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ⅓ heaping cup grated zucchini
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 350º. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ¾ cup breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Add zucchini, oregano and parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Clean and dress the sardines. Lay them on prepared pan, flesh-side up; spoon breadcrumb mixture into the cavity. Bake until sardines are cooked through and hot, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
While they are cooking, you could whip up a little couscous and a side salad and, to flagrantly steal some other cook’s catch-phrase … ‘BAM”… dinner for friends is done!