Baked Butterflied Australian Sardines with Parmesan Sage Crust

The rich flavour of Sardines marries well with other strong flavours such as parmesan, garlic and sage, producing a full-flavoured dish that just needs a lemony salad and some crusty bread to produce a delicious, quick meal.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 Australian Sardines, butterflied 
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (see notes)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons sage, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon, zest finely grated
75g unsalted butter, melted 
100g wild or baby rocket, washed and dried
1 lemon, quartered


Preheat oven to 180ºC. 

Line a baking dish with baking paper and lightly brush with olive oil. Place fish in the dish in a single layer, skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, sage, parsley, parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir melted butter through well to form a paste. Spread mixture over the top of the fish and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. 

Toss rocket with remaining olive oil, divide between plates, place 3 fillets on top of each and serve with a lemon wedge.


To make fresh breadcrumbs, pulse day-old bread in a food processor until finely crumbed. It’s a great way to use up stale bread and you can keep them in the freezer to use whenever breadcrumbs are required.

Alternative species:

Anchovy, Garfish, Sandy Sprat.

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