Posts Tagged ‘how to butterfly sardines’


Sardines for lunch. Well, it’s summer–almost.

Tomorrow is the Solstice.

I was in Castres market by 7h30 this morning, as it came alive.

Late arrivals still unloading last night’s pickings–manoeuvring their vehicles between the early punters, bantering with their neighboring marchands, already set-up and selling.

It’s the best time to go on a Saturday–before the throng chokes up the passageways.

Peaches, raspberries and strawberries confirm the season–only one stall now of asparagus.

Green beans are in–but expensive.

Courgettes and shiny black aubergines! Tomatoes look tempting but are bound to disappoint. The sun hasn’t had time to do it’s magic. Still with a swirl of best olive oil, they’ll complement the sardines and help us with the gear change into the new season.

Officialy summer–but who knows these days…?

Two weeks ago it felt like August in Florence–32C/90F.

To filet a sardine (not for the squeamish, perhaps!)

[Video versions below]

You’ll need a chopping board and plenty of kitchen paper.

Have a pair of scissors to hand and a plate to receive the fillets.

The fishmonger scales the sardines. Check that there are no scales left on the fish, then with the fishhead in your left hand and the body in your right, gently pull the head off–drawing out as much of the innards as possible.


Use the scissors to snip along the belly,


then with your left thumb coax out the rest of the innards.


Place the fish, belly down, on the board and press gently up and down the backbone with both thumbs.


Flatten the fish.

Lift and snip off the small fin, discarding it.



then snip the backbone at the tail end…


…and, with the left hand, peel it gently away from the body, taking care not to take too much of the filet with it.


Voila! You have a butterfly fillet!


12 firm and fresh sardines–butterflied

The stuffing:

100gms/4 oz wholewheat breadcrumbs

Mix in:

1 tablespoon parsley–chopped

2 garlic cloves–chopped fine

1 tablespoon of capers–chopped

a pinch of dried oregano (optional)

1 tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

set oven at 180C

Cover a shallow oven tray with foil and lightly brush it with oil.

Lay out the butterflied fillets.

Cover them not too thickly with the stuffing–a teaspoon lends a helpful guide.

Bake on the top shelf of the oven for ten minutes–less or more depending on the size of the sardines.

I like to finish them under a hot grill for about 30 seconds.









And now here’s the video version of how to butterfly a sardine:

And Part Two illustrates how to stuff the butterflied sardines:

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