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Sardine di Mamma Rosa

Sardine di Mamma Rosa

Mamma Rosa’s sardines

By Carmine Costantini of Osteria la Passione in Richmond, Melbourne

Serves 4

8 fresh sardines
80g breadcrumbs
20g parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
25g Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mixed salad leaves to serve
Bottarge to serve*

For the stock
½ brown onion
½ carrot
1 celery stick
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
Heads and bones of sardines
Pork fat (for deep frying)

Debone the sardines and remove the heads (reserving the bones and heads for the stock), dividing each sardine into two fillets.

Next, prepare the stock. Roughly chop the vegetables, then lightly fry with some oil in a saucepan, together with the garlic and bay leaf. Meanwhile, deep-fry the sardine bones and heads in the pork fat. If you have difficulty sourcing pork fat, it can be substituted for olive oil. Add the sardines and vegetables to a pot and stir for 2-3 minutes. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook over a reduced heat for 2-3 hours, skimming often. Strain using a fine sieve. The stock is now ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 240°C. Place the fillets on a baking tray. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic. Add the pecorino, olive oil, salt and pepper and combine, ensuring the mixture is slightly moist. Place some of the breadcrumb mixture between each of the fillets, then sprinkle with a little more olive oil and bake for 3-4 minutes.

Once the sardines are cooked, serve over some mixed salad leaves, with a ladle of broth and a sprinkle of bottarga.

* Bottarga is a type of cured fish roe that is native to Sardinia.

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