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Oven-baked Sardines with Fennel and Citrus Fruits

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011
List of viewable recipes from "Cook Italy" by Katie Caldesi

Nominated for a 2011 James Beard Cookbook Award in the International category. For a list of all the finalists check out our James Beard Finalists' Guide.  

Sarde al forno con finocchio e agrumi 

Recipe from Cook Italy by Katie Caldesi (Kyle Books, 2010)

ImageThis recipe was developed in our school during "Slow Fish week." It uses the classic soffritto, but with a citrus twist to balance the oily fish. If you can't find fresh baby fennel, use a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Mackerel can also be cooked in this way.

Serves 4

  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup fish stock, plus extra as necessary
  • 2 lb sardines, cleaned and trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves stripped and coarsely chopped


  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, very finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 x 2-in lengths of orange zest
  • 4 baby fennel bulbs, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed

Preheat the oven to 350°F. To make the soffritto, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions, celery, andcarrot. Season. Add the herbs, zest, fennel, and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the herbs. Add the lemon juice to the soffritto and cook for a few minutes. Then add the stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Season to taste. If the soffritto looks dry, add a little more stock or water. Stir in the parsley and set aside.

Lay each sardine skin-side down on a board. Spread a little soffritto on each one and roll up. Arrange in an ovenproof dish and pour in any leftover soffritto or oil. Put into the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the sardines are cookedhrough. Serve with Lemon Roast Potatoes and sautéed spinach.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 April 2011 )
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