Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


Fresh or canned sardines can be used in this spicy, crispy Moroccan snack. Featured in: Forgotten Fish


For the Charmoula

  • 12 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 13 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 14 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small red Thai chile, stemmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Sardines

  • 12 fresh sardines, cleaned, heads removed
  • Toothpicks, for sardines
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


Step 1

Make the charmoula: Combine ingredients in a food processor; purée until smooth and set aside.

Step 2

Stuff the sardines: Using fingers, splay sardine open. Pinch spine and pull towards tail; snap off just above tail and discard. Spread about 1⁄2 tbsp. charmoula along the inside of half the sardines; top with remaining sardines and secure with toothpicks. Transfer sardines to a plate; chill 20 minutes.

Step 3

Fry the sardines: Heat oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk semolina, cumin, and paprika in a shallow bowl; place eggs in a separate bowl. Working in batches and holding sardine tails, dip in egg, then semolina; fry, flipping once, until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sardines to paper towels to drain; season with salt and serve with lemon wedges.

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