- 24 medium sardines
- 4 garlic cloves, minced Heaped 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Heaped 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup/60 ml fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Light olive oil or vegetable oil for deep-frying
- All-purpose flour for dredging
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
Rinse the sardines and clean each. Remove the head, trim the tail, and gently open outward, sliding a thumbnail along the central spine to remove it, as well as any bones. Spread open into a single, butterflied fillet.
In a small mixing bowl, add the garlic, parsley,cilantro, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. Moisten with the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Blend well. Coat the sardines with the marinade and lay in a shallow bowl. Spoon the remaining marinade over the fish. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Lay a sardine skin-side down. Spread with 1B⁄c tsp of the marinade and then place a second sardine on top skin-side up. Repeat with the remaining sardines and marinade. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat at least B⁄c in/12 mm of oil over high heat until the surface shimmers. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Put flour in a wide bowl. Holding a sardine pair together, coat with flour and then dust off any excess. With a slotted spoon or spatula,gently slip the pair into the oil. Cook until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Transfer to paper towels to drain. Working in small batches, dust the remaining sardine pairs with flour and cook in the same manner. Serve hot with the lemon wedges.