Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Lemon and Garlic Roasted Sardines with Potatoes

After a salmon treat, here's a no less delicious recipe using a much looked down upon fish--the cheap sardine. Yes, sardines! Those cheap little oily fishes are rich in the same omega3 fats that we celebrate the salmon for. And have I mentioned how cheap they are?

A lot of people find them overpowering, but a bit of garlic lemon and fresh herbs will definitely get rid of any "smell", although I find it not so much a problem with fresh fish. I decided to roast the sardines whole, on a bed of potatoes because I like how pretty and impressive they look. I know many people cannot stand the idea of having the fish still staring at you on your dinner plate, but I'm absolutely fine with it. Maybe it's because I grew up in a household where my Chinese mum would often steam a whole fresh fish for dinner. Or maybe I'm just weird.

Lemon and Garlic Roasted Sardines with Potatoes
serves 1-2
2 sardines, whole
1 large baking potato, chopped into large chunks
3 cloves of garlic, smashed but skin on
1 lemon (1/2 cut into wedges, 1/2 reserved)
couple of sprigs of thyme
sea salt, black pepper (to taste, but be generous)
extra virgin olive oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Parboil the potatoes in salted water for about 5 min, then drain well and give them a good shake to bash them up so you get crispy skins later. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on a greased oven proof dish, season and drizzle with evoo, and place into the oven to roast for 45 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, remove the gills and insides from the sardines by cutting from just beneath the head down the belly. Wash under running water and rub the sardines all over to remove the blood and scales. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
4. 10 min before your potatoes are ready, remove, turn up the heat to 200 degrees celsius.
5. Place the sardines over and scatter the garlic thyme and the lemon wedges around. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over. Return to oven and roast for 10 more min till the sardines are just cooked. You can also change to broil setting for the last few minutes to get a lightly charred, crispier skin!

sardines before roasting (they look so cute, all wide-eyed and innocent)

sardines after roasting (I'm sorry, but yum)

The garlic and thyme really give the roasted sardines a mouthwatering aroma, and the lemons help to cut the richness of the sardines, so I can safely assure you there is no more horrible fishy smell. Option: You can also grill sardines whole if you have a barbeque, a fantastic option as the weather starts getting warmer (yay).

By the way, sardines are full of little bones that you can eat and that are actually good for you because they're full of calcium. Usually I have no problems eating the little bones in canned fish, but I find them quite irritating in sardines :( I'll find a way to get all these bones out for my next sardine adventure.

I'm off to Romania for 5 days! My favourite bit about planning for this trip (as with all trips) is the food research hee hee. Romania's supposedly a place that's not yet overflowing with processed food, instead being full of traditional meaty stews and vegetables! approve. anyway, will be back to blogging next week! (:


  1. I like canned sardines but I have not seen fresh sardines. They are a pretty tasty fish.

  2. These look amazing.Citrus and seafood is always yum but garlic is one more layer of flavor.I love roasted seafood a lot as such.

  3. Mouthwatering dish.
    Just right when you want to have a light meal.
    Have a gr8 trip and looking forward to seeing some recipes from Romania...

  4. I am curious how this would taste - my mom NEVER cooked whole fish and neither have I - I would love to try! Have a great trip! and thanks for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  5. I confess, I do have trouble with the eyes! But that is just me. I LOVE sardines, but have never cooked them myself before - and they are SO good for you. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe with the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.

  6. Hi Shu Han!
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, because if you didn't, I wouldn't know that you have such a lovely blog! I like how your dishes are yummylicious and simple to prepare.

    I have no problem with the eyes:) Or maybe we're both weird? I spent more than half my life in Singapore, and have gotten used to that. My mom is chinese, so she cooks fish whole too! I find greater joy and satisfaction in eating the fish whole. I have a problem though; I don't have the courage to cook a whole fish because I'm really bad at cleaning and scaling it.

  7. What a light and satisfying meal! Hope you enjoy your trip and look forward to your next post relating to Romania....

  8. i have only had sardines once before...but they looked nothing like these! these look amazing. your pic is lovely too. thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.

  9. Hi sweet! I'm from Brazil and I loved your recipes. Especially this. We, like so much sardines, here in Brazil.
    I want to ask his permission to put this recipe on my blog, acknowledging that this recipe is og his own. I will also indicate the adress of your blog, so that everyone knows what delights you do. Kisses!

  10. Thanks! love whole sardines(:

    Kalyla it's quite easy though, my mum showed me. just run the back of your knife over the skin of the fish. or get the fishmonger to do it heh heh.

    LuizClaudio, of course I would be more than happy to share this! (:

  11. Great, simple, delicious little recipe. Fantastic instructions and pictures as well! Thanks muchly!