Olive Oil-Braised Sardines with Fennel
**FROM SAVEUR ISSUE #164** Sardines are braised with fennel, carrots, and other aromatics in this elegant, slightly spicy dish from chef Mary Sue Milliken.
Yield: serves 2-4
- 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
- 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.