Stuffed Rivera-Style Sardines

Credit: Didier Loire


Step 1: Sardines

Scale and trim the sardines, then remove the gills. Remove the bones from the inside, starting with the belly, and cut the central bone at the head and tail. Be careful not to damage the sardines (which is easy to do if the sardines are very fresh).

Wash under running water, delicately pat dry with a dishcloth, and spread the sardines out, back-side down against the work surface. Season with salt and pepper, then place a dab of stuffing in the center of each and fold them back over the stuffing, sliding the tail into the head, through the gills.

Arrange the sardines in a greased baking dish without touching one another, and drizzle with 2 3/4 tablespoons (4 cl) of extra-virgin olive oil.

Step 2: Stuffing

Peel the garlic clove and reduce to a purée using a knife.

Trim and dice the bread into 1/3 inch (1 cm) cubes, soak in crème fraiche for 30 minutes, and drain.

Separate, wash, and dry the Swiss chard and spinach leaves. Bring 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) of salted water to a boil, plunge the leaves into it, and cook for 2 minutes, then drain and cool immediately. Press to remove as much water as possible before chopping them with a knife.

Wash, separate, and dry the herbs. Coarsely chop all with a knife, except the marjoram. Store in a cool place.

Drain the tomatoes, dice 4 wedges into a salpicon, and set the rest aside.

Mash the Swiss chard, diced tomatoes, and soaked white bread cubes, with a fork, and combine the egg, parmesan, chopped herbs, crushed garlic, and 4 teaspoons (2 cl) olive oil. Once the stuffing is smooth, season to taste.

Step 3: Cooking and Serving

Bake the sardines at 410°F (210°C) for 10 minutes, then remove from the dish and let rest on a cooling rack.

Wrap the remaining tomato wedges inside basil leaves.

Serve the sardines with the tomato wedges wrapped inside basil leaves, the olives, the deep fried zucchini blossoms, the artichokes, split into two, and the fried basil, and garnish with small marjoram leaves. Season with extra-virgin olive oil, fleur de sel, and freshly ground black pepper.

These sardines can be served hot, warm or cold.

This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits