Fresh sardines are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are one of the most ecofriendly catches available at the fish counter. Here, a few minutes’ roasting time, some rustic smashed potatoes, and a briny lemon and olive dressing come together for a hearty Mediterranean supper.
What to buy: To save on time, have your fishmonger clean and bone the sardines for you.
Special equipment: You can find a pastry brush at kitchen supply stores or online.
- 1Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- 2Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, generously season the water with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are knife tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
- 3When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, place them on a baking sheet. Using the palm of your hand, press down on each until flattened to about a 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness (the skins will split apart and the flesh may crumble slightly).
- 4Whisk together the oil, rosemary, red pepper flakes, measured salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl until combined. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the oil mixture over the potatoes and season with salt. Using a flat spatula, flip the potatoes over, brush the remaining oil mixture over them, and season with salt.
- 5Roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Using the flat spatula, flip the potatoes over and roast until the edges and bottoms are crunchy and golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and cover with foil.
For the sardines:
- 1Keep the oven at 450°F and arrange a rack in the top position closest to the broiler.
- 2Place the sardines on a baking sheet and season the insides and outsides with salt and pepper.
- 3Combine the olives, parsley, garlic, anchovies, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, measured salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Fill each sardine with a few teaspoons of the olive mixture. (The amount needed will vary depending on the size of your sardines. Do not overfill—the fish should not be gaping open.) Scatter any remaining olive mixture around the sardines on the baking sheet, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the sardines. Roast just until the fish are firm and starting to brown at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- 4To serve, divide the smashed potatoes among four plates. Lay the sardines over the potatoes and top with any leftover roasted-olive-and-breadcrumb mixture from the baking sheet. Serve immediately.