While my childhood was filled with a kaleidoscope of inspired deliciousness, there are a few dishes that still haunt me. Sardines are were one of them. Too often, did my parents prepare a humble Vietnamese sandwich topping made of tinned sardines in tomato sauce, spruced up with onion and chilli. Normally eaten for breakfast or lunch, the sardines were always too rich, too fishy, or had too many prickly little bones. Sometimes we’d have this with regular white toast, and other times, in a banh mi bread roll. A few drops of Maggie Seasoning sauce and some fresh coriander added an extra dimension, but I’ve just never been a fan of it.

So basically, I’ve been avoiding sardines for quite some time.

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I was hesitant when I found out that one of the recipes I’d be cooking with Luke Nguyen at a recent masterclass featured sardines as a main ingredient. However, always open to new experiences, I proceeded to watch Luke meticulously prepare the stuffing mixture of rice, garlic, shallot, almonds, coriander, lime rind, chilli and breadcrumbs. Six fresh sardines were boned and butterflied. Instead of being brazenly pungent, the sardines were somewhat intriguingly delicate.

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Luke Nguyen’s France starts tomorrow (Thursday 24 April) at 7:30pm on SBS ONE. SBS have generously given us permission to share this recipe of Sardine Farcie (Stuffed Sardines) ahead of the show’s debut on TV. The sardines will be featured in episode 7 where Luke travels to Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera.

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Stuffed Sardines (Sardine Farcie)
Serves 6
Various recipes for stuffed sardines can be found along the stretch of Ligurian Sea coast between France and Italy. Use very fresh sardines for the fullest flavour.
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
423 calories
36 g
110 g
26 g
12 g
4 g
155 g
293 g
2 g
0 g
20 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
155g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 423
Calories from Fat 227
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
40%
Saturated Fat 4g
20%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 110mg
37%
Sodium 293mg
12%
Total Carbohydrates 36g
12%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 2g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
6%
Vitamin C
21%
Calcium
12%
Iron
13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cooked rice
  2. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  3. 1 French shallot, chopped
  4. 2 tbsp roasted crushed almonds
  5. ¼ cup chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
  6. ½ lime, rind grated, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
  7. 1 red chilli, sliced, plus extra to garnish
  8. pinch of salt and pepper
  9. 140 g (2 cups) breadcrumbs
  10. 3 eggs, separated
  11. 6 sardines, boned and butterflied
  12. 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
  13. 2 handfuls of rocket
Instructions
  1. Combine rice, garlic, shallot, almonds, coriander, lime rind, chilli, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp breadcrumbs and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, stir to combine until ingredients stick together.
  2. On a flat plate, combine remaining breadcrumbs and coriander.
  3. Gently squeeze 1 tbsp stuffing in your hand to firmly combine ingredients, making a tight sausage shape. Place stuffing on the inside of a sardine, then flatten so it sticks to the sardine.
  4. Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl and whisk for 1 minute to thin out slightly. Dip sardines in egg white, then coat with the breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat process with the remaining sardines and stuffing.
  5. Heat ⅓ cup olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook 2 sardines at a time, belly side down, for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel.
  6. Meanwhile, place rocket in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season.
  7. Place sardines on a serving platter with rocket leaves, extra chilli and coriander, and a wedge of lime.
Notes
  1. SBS cook's notes
  2. We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml.
  3. All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed.
  4. All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified.
  5. All eggs are 55–60 g, unless specified.
beta
calories
423
fat
26g
protein
12g
carbs
36g
more
I Ate My Way Through http://www.iatemywaythrough.com/
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The resulting dish is uncomplicated and wonderfully textural – the light crumbing allows the natural flavours of fresh sardine to stand out, and the herbs and rice filling add a gorgeous aromatic touch. Canned sardines, I may not like, but these? I think I’ll be making these again!

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Don’t forget to tune in to Luke Nguyen’s France on SBS One tomorrow night!

Luke Nguyen’s France begins Thursday 24th April at 7:30pm on SBS ONE. Following its premiere on SBS ONE, each episode will be available at sbs.com.au/food/luke-nguyens-france, on iTunes and Googleplay. The full series will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from June 2014.

This post is sponsored by SBS Food

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.