Olive Oil-Braised Sardines with Fennel

  • Serves

    serves 2-4


Sardines are braised with fennel, carrots, and other aromatics in this elegant, slightly spicy dish from chef Mary Sue Milliken. This recipe first appeared in our April 2014 issue with her story Forgotten Fish.


  • 8 fresh sardines, cleaned, rinsed, and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seed, crushed
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, sliced ¼″ thick
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol
  • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced ¼″ thick
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Lemon wedges and toasted country bread, for serving


Step 1

Heat oven to 300°. Season sardines with salt and pepper in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; spread into a single layer. Heat oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat; cook fennel seed, garlic, bay leaves, carrots, chiles, sliced fennel, celery, onion, salt, and pepper until golden, 10–12 minutes. Pour over sardines; fit a piece of parchment paper over surface and bake until cooked, 25–30 minutes. Let cool; serve with lemon wedges and bread.

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