Fresh, fried sardines on a white plate with parsley.

Fresh Fried Sardines: Extraordinary Nutrition

Fresh, fried sardines on a white plate with parsley.

Fresh fried sardines are amazing. If you’ve always been hesitant about buying them because you don’t know what to do with them, then this recipe is for you. Sardines are cheap, easy to cook, fun to eat and their nutritional content is incredible. The bones are so tiny that you crunch right through them. The tails are so thin they become crispy as chips. Ask your fishmonger to clean them for you, that way the hard work’s already done. Then, as soon as you get home, give them a rinse under cold water and store them in the fridge. We prefer to cook them within hours of purchase but they’re just as good the following day. Sure, they can be frozen, bur there’s something quite delightful about indulging in them as close to the haul as you can.

Sardines, the Inexpensive Superfood

Fresh sardines are a whole different experience than their canned counterparts. Look for fish that are sleek and shiny. Your fishmonger will know when and where they were caught. They’re so nutrient dense that you don’t need many for a sustaining meal. And they’re inexpensive so it’s easy to make them a part of your weekly menu. We calculate 150 grams for each adult – that’s the weight before they’re cleaned. It works out to 8 or 9 each, depending on their size.

Being small and low on the food chain, sardines are one of the best ways to obtain the essential fatty acid, Omega 3. Consuming the whole fish means that the bioavailablity of the fat is optimized. Poor quality Omega 3 oils, on the other hand, have been stripped of the phytonutirents and antioxidants which are necessary for keeping the oil stable. Such oils easily become rancid, resulting in a “fishy” aftertaste. Not so with fresh sardines!

Canned sardines retain all the goodness of the fresh fish. At least, I believe this is the case. The nutritional data that I’ve found online refers to canned sardines. If “fresh is best”, then perhaps what we buy from the fishmonger is even richer than the list below.

According to Wikipedia, 100 grams of sardines provide

  • Saturated fat, 2.6 g
  • Monounsaturated fat, 4.8g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: Omega 3, 1.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: Omega 6, 0.6
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), 19%DV
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3), 28%DV
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), 15%DV
  • Vitamin B12, 375%DV
  • Choline, 16%DV
  • Vitamin D, 32%DV
  • Calcium, 24%DV
  • Copper, 14%DV
  • Iron, 18%DV
  • Phosphorus, 52%DV
  • Selenium, 58%DV
  • Sodium, 28%DV
  • Zinc, 15%DV
  • Also small amounts of Vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Vitamin B6, Folate (B9), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Manganese, and Potassium

Not bad for a little fish!

Fresh sardines on ice.

How to Cook Fresh Fried Sardines

Friends of ours have an electric deep fryer. Their fried sardines are wonderful, but the appliance requires half a litre of oil. That kind of quantity usually means resorting to seed oils, which are inflammatory and which we therefore don’t keep at home. Rather, we fry our sardines in a pan with a little olive oil.

It’s so easy. Just five simple steps. Really, there’s only three, but the first two are important for time-saving and freshness.

  1. Buy the sardines. Ask the fishmonger to clean them for you.
  2. Rinse them under cold water as soon as you get home. Then store them in the fridge.
  3. When ready to cook, rinse them again, pat them dry with paper towel and coat them in cassava (manioca) flour.
  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the sardines in a single layer.
  5. Cook for a couple of minutes on both sides.

And they’re done, ready to serve.

We love these with Homemade Mayonnaise and a crisp salad when the sun is shining, or with a mixed mash of fennel, cauliflower and carrot when the weather is cool.

I hope you love this recipe for Fresh Fried Sardines. If so, be a sweet, share it on Social and pop back to give it a rating.

And be sure to check out my recipe collection, Easy & Essential Paleo Recipes for Busy People.

On the Side

Octopus Salad with Avocado, Lemon and Herbs  – As with the sardines, ask your fishmonger to clean the Octopus.

How to Cook Octopus in 3 Easy Steps – Never cooked an Octopus? OMG, you must learn. So easy – always have one in the freezer, ready to go!

Pickled Zucchini Salad with Carrot and Fresh Mint – Perfect for serving with fish and seafood.

Still looking for an effortless way to lose the weight, the pain and the stress?  Download now my free Guide. Health is Easy!

Fresh Fried Sardines

Fresh fried sardines are amazing. They're cheap, easy to cook, fun to eat and their nutritional content is incredible. Just five simple steps. Really, there's only three, but the first two are important for time-saving and freshness.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: AIP, Fodmap Friendly, Keto, Mediterranean, Paleo
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 300 grams fresh sardines weighed before cleaning
  • 2 tablespoons cassava flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Buy the sardines. Ask your fishmonger to clean them for you.
  • As soon as you get home, rinse them under cold running water, then store them in the fridge.
  • When ready to cook, rinse them again and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Put them into a bowl with the cassava flour and toss to coat.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan, then add the sardines in a single layer. Fry for a couple of minutes on both sides.

Angelina Brazzale

Angelina Brazzale is the founding creative director of Empress and Sister. Like her chart ruler, Mercury, she travels between worlds. She has degrees in English Literature and in Fine Arts, Ceramics. She's a Primary Health Coach, having reversed autoimmune disease through the protocols of ancestral health. She spent over 10 years teaching yoga and meditation. She reads Tarot, writes and makes art, and is sensitive to the energy in crystals and trees. Visit her Page in the Empress and Sister Collective for information, products and services.

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