Sardines are easily accessible in Switzerland. They are not expensive and yet very nutritious, full of great vitamins, minerals, omega-3’s, and lean protein. The mercury levels are considered to be the lowest in this seafood. The easiest way to cook them is by grilling method but this time I wanted to try something different. I have combined two blog posts from two of my favorite Greek food blogs and came up to my own dish: Maria’s of Kali Orexi’s baked sardines recipe and Peter Minaki of Kalofagas’ clear directions of how to butterfly the sardines (i.e with scales and bones removed).
At dinner, My Peter confessed that he is actually not that fond of sardines but with the bones and scales all nicely cleaned, that’s a different story, he enjoyed the sardines very much that evening. I agree with him, it is less messy and you can enjoy your meal more elegantly!
- 800g fresh sardines, butterflied and cleaned
- extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & ground pepper
- Pinches of dried Oregano (I do not have the Greek Oregano)
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme (only the leaves)
- 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
- Juice of 1 lemon
How to butterfly sardines (with reference from Peter Minaki’s post):
- Using the back of your knife gently scrape the sardines to remove the scales. Cut the heads off and discard. Make a slit into each belly and cut all the way down to the tail and pull the guts out (some fish mongers may have taken out the guts for you already)
- Rinse the sardines and then place one sardine on a cutting board at a time (horizontally with the belly against the board) and gently push down along the spine until you’ve flattened the fish. Now turnover and gently pull out the spine. Repeat this step until all your sardines have been butterflied and boned. Rinse the sardines once again and allow to drain and pat-dry. Line them on a plate.
- Preheat oven to 200ºC .
- Sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides of the sardines and line them on an ovenproof dish.
- In a bowl, mix well the olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic, red chili flakes and lemon juice. Pour this over the sardines and set aside of a few minutes.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 mins.
- Serve the sardines with green salad and some fresh bread.