Sardines (known as Sardeles in Greek) are a popular fish among Greeks. Aside from being flavorful, easily accessible and inexpensive, they are packed with vitamins and rich in so many nutrients we all surely need more of these days.
In fact, sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. What’s more, sardines are a great source of vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and protein. Of more importance to most of you, sardines make for a quick and easy meal as they need little cooking time and just a few ingredients to enhance their flavor.
My favorite ways to cook fresh sardines are grilled quickly over a charcoal fire (served with a lemon/olive oil sauce); baked in a spicy tomato sauce (see this post); and simply baked with some olive oil and herbs as you will see below. The only downside is, I always end up eating way too much bread with these dishes because the yummy sardines and accompanying sauces beg for it!
If you haven’t tried sardines yet, please do. They’re a great fish to add to your diet. I promise.
Baked Sardines–Ψητές Σαρδέλες
Makes 6 servings
2 pounds of fresh sardines, cleaned
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 hefty pinches Greek oregano
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the sardines well under cold running water making sure all scales are removed. Layer sardines in a baking dishes and season well with salt and pepper. Whisk the olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon juice in a bowl until well combined. Pour over the sardines and let sit a couple of minutes.
Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, adding a bit of water to the baking dish if necessary. Serve the sardines with a fresh salad and crusty bread.