Sardele Ripiene

Stuffed Sardines

Although originally from the Veneto, this recipe for cooking fresh sardines is in use all around the Mediterranean with slight variations on the basic theme. It makes a substantial antipasto or first course dish.


  • 8 large fresh sardines
  • 3 tablespoonfresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoonfreshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoonchopped fresh rosemary or
  • 1 teaspoondried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoonchopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil


Remove the heads and guts, then slit the fish open lengthways. Wash and leave to drain very thoroughly. Pat dry with a cloth or kitchen paper.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs and garlic. Add a little seasoning and enough oil to make a smooth paste. Fill each fish with some of this paste and push them back into shape.

Oil an ovenproof dish and arrange the fish in a single layer in the dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, dribble a little oil on top and bake in a moderate oven (180°C 350°F, gas mark 4) for about 15–20 minutes. Serve very hot.