You really can’t go wrong with fried fish and every important food culture in the word has variations of frying creatures from the sea in a lipid like oil, including the Italians and this delectable Fried Sardine Fillets (Sarde Fritte) dish. We have two primary methods for frying one of the most common, and tastiest, Mediterranean fish; viz., sardines. The two methods include: whole (covered in an earlier recipe) or filleted and breaded. Here’s our recipe for fried sardine fillets or sarde fritte.
If you’re lucky to have a fishmonger who you know well and purchase lots of fish from on a weekly basis, then please feel free to ask him or her to scale your sardines and remove the gills and insides. If not it’s fairly easy to clean whole sardines, though a bit time consuming. Here’s a a great process from the Good Food Channel in England
Once your fish have been cleaned make sure to give them a good rinse and dry them with clean paper towels. Next, mix the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, black pepper, Kosher salt, and chopped parsley and move to a large bowl. Drizzle the sardines with good extra virgin olive oil and bread the fish individually making sure you get a good coating. One note on using eggs when breading fish: I don’t like to use eggs because fish are very delicate tasting creatures and I don’t want to taste egg when eating high quality fish, I find breadcrumbs adhere perfectly well to fish coated with olive oil. Heat the canola oil in large fry pan to between 325°F to 375°F and brown each side of the sardine carefully; you don’t need to deep dry the fish though you can certainly use more oil and submerge the entire fish. Sprinkle each sardine with additional Kosher salt when hot and serve with wedges of lemon.