Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines

Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines

Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines
Fresh or canned sardines can be used in this spicy, crispy Moroccan snack. Eat 'em like french fries.André Baranowski

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

Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines
Fresh or canned sardines are stuffed with charmoula in this Moroccan snack.
Yield: serves 4-6

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


  1. Make the charmoula: Combine ingredients in a food processor; purée until smooth and set aside.
  2. Stuff the sardines: Using fingers, splay sardine open. Pinch spine and pull towards tail; snap off just above tail and discard. Spread about 12 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.
  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.