The sardines stay moist and tender, lending their juices to the mixture of parsley, tomatoes and bread crumbs inside.
Servings: 4 - 6
- Leaves from 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (at least 2 1/2 cups)
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced (at least 1/3 cup)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
- About 6 firm plum tomatoes, finely chopped (3 cups; seeded or not seeded)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds fresh sardines , cleaned (see NOTE)
- Juice of 2 or 3 lemons (at least 1/2 cup)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the sardines in a single layer.
Combine 2 cups of the parsley, garlic, bread crumbs to taste and 1 cup of the tomatoes in a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle the sardines inside and out with lemon juice and a little salt. Spread a spoonful of the parsley mixture evenly inside each sardine, then place the fish side by side in the prepared baking dish, laying them on their sides. Drizzle with the oil to taste, then top evenly with the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the sardines are tender and the tomatoes have softened.
Divide among individual plates, including any pan juices; serve hot.
NOTE: To clean the sardines, cut off the heads and discard, then gut the insides, removing all bones. Cut open the fish, making sure the fish remain partially attached in the center.
Adapted from "The Glorious Foods of Greece," by Diane Kochilas (William Morrow, 2001).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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