Stuffed Fresh Sardines

September/October 2014

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In this stuffed sardine recipe, fresh sardines get a cheesy filling before being cooked in olive oil. Serve as a first course or with a salad for an easy supper.

Stuffed Fresh Sardines

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: 2 stuffed sardines

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  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 12 medium fresh sardines, gutted, head and tail left on
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine ricotta, Romano, fresh breadcrumbs, parsley, 1 egg, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Rinse sardines and pat dry. Season the insides with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stuff each sardine with about 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


Per serving: 420 calories; 26 g fat (5 g sat, 16 g mono); 170 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g total sugars; 26 g protein; 1 g fiber; 423 mg sodium; 366 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin B12 (62% daily value), Calcium (16% dv), Zinc (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 medium-fat meat, 3 1/2 fat

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Recipe Categories

Total Time
1 hour or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique
Healthy Frying

Ease of Preparation
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