Butterflied Baked Sardines

butterflied sardines

We’ve raved about sardines a lot, and just feel that they deserve a lot more love than they get. As part of our supermarket challenge we picked up 18 beautiful Cornish (even better) sardines for just £3! Perfect for feeding a crowd or filling up your freezer with.

Cornish sardines have a long season, from late June to February so there is plenty of time to get your hands on them, and they are a fantastic sustainable option. A huge amount of our sardines are sent off to countries like Portugal and Spain – so when you are sitting by the sea on holiday tucking into some it may well have come from Cornish shores! Cheap, tasty, sustainable and supporting the Cornish fishing industry – some big ticks for us.

But did you know a sardine is actually he same as a pilchard? They are exactly the same fish, the smaller ones just tend to be called sardines. The name change was actually part of a rebrand to try and encourage more Brits to buy them to cook up at home. There’s a great piece on The Independent all about the rebrand which is worth a read.

Here we have simply butterflied them and topped with a herby crust. You can ask the fishmonger in store to do the butterflying for you if you don’t fancy doing it yourself.

butterflied and stuffed sardines

Butterflied Baked Sardines serves 2


  • Six sardines
  • Two slices of white bread
  • Handful of parsley
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Salad to serve


  1. Start off by butterflying your sardines. Slice through the sardine just past the head and remove.
  2. Then run your knife underneath (the fish belly!) along the line.
  3. Once the fish has been scored you can turn it inside out, leaving the tail on to hold it all together.
  4. Gut the fish by removing all of the organs inside, leaving you just with the flesh.
  5. Remove the middle bone, cutting off just before the tail.
  6. Lightly rinse the fish to ensure all of the guts have been removed.
  7. Place in a baking tray skin side down.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  9. Blitz the white bread and the parsley in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor grating the bread will do a good job, and then just finely chop the parsley.
  10. Zest the lemon juice into the breadcrumb mixture and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  11. Take a tablespoon of the breadcrumb mix per sardine and place on top. Press down slightly so it stays on the fish.
  12. Place in the oven for five minutes until the topping is golden brown.
  13. Serve up alongside a big pile of salad and pretend you are by the sea.


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