Stuffed sardines

Serves 4

This is a typical north African fried fish dish. Ask your butcher to butterfly you about 12 sardines. Or you can do this yourself by cutting off the heads, slitting the stomach to remove the guts and running your thumb down the back bone and just pulling the bone away, leaving the fillets attached to each other along the back. Once you have done a few of them you will get the hang of it.

12 very fresh sardines, butterflied
Flour for dusting
Vegetable or olive oil for frying
Lemon wedges to serve

For the filling

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 mild green chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp ground cumin
tsp ground turmeric
tsp ground coriander
The grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp chopped coriander

First make the stuffing: heat the olive oil in a pan and gently cook the onion, garlic, chilli, cumin, turmeric and coriander for 3-4 minutes in a covered pan, stirring every so often to avoid colouring.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then stir in the parsley and season. Open the sardines up and divide the filling between them and fold them back into shape.

Lightly flour the sardines and season them. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the sardines for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and crisp.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve with lemon. Garnish with chopped coriander.

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