Start by Making the Chermoula

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Start by Making the Chermoula

Fried Sardines Stuffed with Chermoula is a classic Moroccan recipe that's easy to prepare. Double fillets of sardine are stuffed with a spicy marinade called chermoula before being dredged in flour and pan-fried. If you've never tried sardines, this recipe is sure to win you over. Consider offering the sardines alongside some of the other dishes listed in this Moroccan Fried Fish Dinner Menu Ideas.

To make the sardines, you'll start by preparing the chermoula. In a bowl, mix together:
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper or hot paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 small lemon

Adjust the seasoning to your own preferences. Chermoula is typically a bit salty and zesty, but you can make it milder or spicier.

Wash the Sardine Fillets

You'll need about 2 kg (4 1/2 lbs.) of fresh, whole sardines. Each sardine should be opened into a single fillet with the bones removed. Have your fishmonger do this for you, or fillet the sardines yourself.

Wash the sardine fillets and allow them to drain thoroughly.

Stuff the Sardines with Chermoula

To stuff the sardine fillets, take a fillet and place it skin side down. Spread the fillet with a generous teaspoon of the chermoula. Use a little more than what's shown in this photo.

Take a second fillet, skin side up, and place it on top of the first fillet. Set the sandwiched fillets aside and repeat with the remaining sardines and chermoula.

At this point, the sardines can be covered and refrigerated until ready to cook.

Dredge the Stuffed Sardines in Flour

Before frying, the fillets should be dredged in flour. This can be done on a plate or in a shallow bowl.

Coat both sides of the stuffed sardines with the flour, and shake off the excess. They're now ready to fry.

Cover the bottom of a frying pan with vegetable oil, and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the stuffed fillets in batches, about five minutes on each side, or until golden.

Drain the fried sardines on paper towels before transferring to a serving plate.

Sardines Stuffed with Chermoula can be served warm or at room temperature. To reheat, place the sardines in a single layer on a baking sheet, and place in an oven preheated to 350° F (180° C) for 5 to 10 minutes.

Try these other Moroccan sardine recipes:

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