This is a take on traditional Moroccan recipe. I jazzed up the stuffing which is usually mostly herbs and Harrisa, with apricots and pine nuts. With the fatty sardines the somewhat sweet stuffing because of the apricots works great. Looks lovely as well. I am used to very small sardines, but I found big ones in Asian market that easier to deal with. You can probably try Smelt too, though they are usually hard to clean. —Cordelia
depends on size of the fish, about 4
4 big sardines
Bunch of parsley (about 1/2 cup of chopped parsley)
3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
Ask your fish person to clean and butterfly the fish - take out the guts, the fish-bone and cut the head. Butterfly and flatten the fish. Salt and pepper the two sides of each fish.
Chop the parsley. Dice the apricots very small.
In a bowl mix parsley, apricots, pine nuts lemon juice, oil and garlic. Mix well to make a paste.
For each pair of fish - spread some of the pasted on the inside of one of the fish and pat in down gently so it will stick to the fish. Attach the other fish on top of the stuffing and push down gently to glue them together with the stuffing as much as you can.
Dredge the pairs of fish in the flour on both sides.
Add to a wide skillet olive oil to cover the bottom to about 1/2 inch deep on medium. Fry the pair of fish until golden brown, for small fish just few minutes on each side. Flip gently and fry on the other side until golden brown.
Drain on a plate covered in paper towel. Serve right away preferably with Harrissa or a drizzle of lemon juice. You can keep for a little bit in a warm oven but make sure you're not drying the fish too much.