Pasta with Sardines

Adapted from a recipe by Mark Bitman from

How to Cook Everything iPhone App

Makes 2 generous servings

6x fresh sardines

1/4 cup flour

flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

olive oil

250g pasta ( I used De Cecco casareccia)



handful of raisins, soaked in warm water while you prepare the sardines

handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted

olive oil

1x fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1/2 a preserved lemon (discard the flesh, and slice the skin thinly)

grated zest of 1x lemon

large handful fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

freshly ground black pepper


Put a large pot of water over high heat and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, prepare the sardines as per this video.  Wash thoroughly and use a paper towel to pat completely dry.

Spread flour, seasoned with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, on a plate.  Dredge the sardines in the flour, shaking off any excess, and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat.  As soon as the oil is hot, add the sardines to the pan, and continue to cook until the fish is golden brown and almost cooked through.  Remove from pan to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any surplus oil.  Break into slightly bigger than bite-sized pieces.

Now liberally salt the boiling water, and add the pasta to the water.  Cook according to the packet instructions until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the sliced fennel and saute until the fennel has softened - about 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the drained raisins, most of the pine nuts, preserved lemon skin, sardines, and a generous grind of black pepper.  (Because the preserved lemon is salty, you may find that you don't need any additional salt.)  Stirring gently, combine everything well, and cook until everything is heated through and fish is cooked through.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water.  Add the pasta to the pan containing the fish, and add most of the chopped parsely.  Toss carefully to combine and add a little of the reserved pasta water if necessary.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking

Transfer to a warm serving bowl, and sprinkle over the remaining pine nuts and parsley, and the grated lemon zest.

 Delicious served immediately or at room temperature.