This popular Moroccan Fried Stuffed Sardine recipe uses chermoula, a spicy marinade made from coriander, paprika, cumin and hot pepper.
Double fillets of sardine are stuffed with the marinade before being dredged in flour and pan-fried. (How to Fry Stuffed Sardines shows this process.)
Have your fish monger fillet the sardines for you, or see How to Fillet Sardines to do it yourself.
The sardines can be stuffed with the chermoula a day in advance and refrigerated until ready to cook.
Serves 4 as an entrée, or more when part of a Moroccan Fried Fish Dinner.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 4 1/2 lbs. (about 2 kg) fresh sardines, double filleted or "butterflied"
- 1 batch Chermoula
- 1/2 cup flour
- vegetable oil for frying
Place one sardine fillet skin-side down. Spread the surface of the fillet with a generous teaspoon of chermoula, and top with another sardine fillet, skin side up. Set aside.
Repeat with the remaining fillets and chermoula. Leave the sardines to marinate for a half hour. If cooking later or the next day, cover tightly and refrigerate.
When ready to fry, dredge the stuffed fillets with flour on both sides. Shake off the excess, and set the sardines aside in a single layer.
Heat a 10- or 12-inch frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to fully cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, cook the stuffed fillets in batches, about four to five minutes on each side, or until golden. Drain on paper towels before transferring to a serving plate.
Fried stuffed sardines can be served hot, but it's also common to serve them room temperature, especially when they're part of a larger fish dinner where lots of food is being fried in batches.