Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
¼ cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 large eggs, divided
Zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
12 medium fresh sardines, gutted, head and tail left on
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
Combine ricotta, Romano, fresh breadcrumbs, parsley, 1 egg, lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Rinse sardines and pat dry. Season the insides with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stuff each sardine with about 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture.
Place flour in one shallow dish, the remaining 2 eggs (lightly beaten) in a second shallow dish and panko in a third dish. Dip the sardines in the flour, then the egg, then the panko.
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Fry the sardines, in batches, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side, reducing the heat as needed. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.
420 calories;26 g fat(5 g sat); 1 g fiber; 19 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 41 mcg folate; 170 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 474 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 157 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 420 mg sodium; 366 mg potassium