This is not a recipe that one will cook on a weekday after getting home from work. It is more of a “cooking ritual” that my partner and I will occasionally undertake on a Saturday, most likely because we are expecting a bunch of friends for dinner. Despite the fact that the recipe itself is quite easy, it takes some labor to prepare the fish. Our guests (even the ones who don’t love sardines) highly appreciate this recipe, where the strong flavor of the fish is combined with a good dose of both dried and fresh herbs.
700g very fresh sardines, cleaned and cut in small pieces, heads discarded
2 cups ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped in small pieces
1 cup onions, coarsely grated
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
The zest of an unwaxed lemon, thinly grated
3 spoons Greek oregano
Salt, pepper, extra flour
Put the little pieces of fish in a bowl
add the rest of ingredients and mix well using your hands.
You might need to adjust the quantity of flour
and use more than one cup, as the right proportion
depends on the liquids of the fish, onions, and tomatoes.
The result should be sticky mass easy to shape in dense balls.
The smaller the ingredients are chopped,
the better they will blend together.
Let the mixture rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Cooking: Shape a sardine ball with your hands, then roll it in flour to give it a good coating. Do the same with the rest of the balls. Pour the oil in a frying pan on medium fire. The oil should be hot, but not smoking. Add the first portion of balls (about 8) in the pan, let cook from one side and then turn upside down. This will take 4-5 minutes. When cooked, drain on kitchen paper and continue with the next portion. Serve warm and season with fresh lemon.