Cotolete de sardele (or cotolette di sarde in Italian) is another dish I tried for the first time in Venice while researching cichéti and discovering that I liked sardines, It’s simple, can be prepared in a few minutes and served as an appetizer, starter, or even a main course depending on the quantity.
You will need small sardines which have been gutted and filleted (far better to have this done by your fishmonger than try to do it yourself as it’s fiddly). They fillets should be open flat a libro (like a book) as they say in Italy, The tail should be left on which makes it easier to cook them and to eat them as it will serve as a small handle.
These can be eaten on their own, hot or cold, or served with a mayonnaise dip or dressed with lemon juice and herbs. So many ways to enjoy.
Cotolete de sardele
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
30 sardines, cleaned and filleted
125g (1 cup) plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
125g (1 cup) breadcrumbs
oil for frying
fleur de sel
- Heat the oil in a large pan or deep-fat fryer to about 180°C (350°F).
- Mix the flour with some salt and pepper to taste.
- Take each sardine by the tail, cover it in flour, then dip in in the egg and breadcrumbs to give it a generous coating.
- Drop in the oil and cook until they rise to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. You will probably have to do them in batches of about 5.
- Scoop out of the oil and then dry on a plate covered with a piece of paper towel.
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel or normal salt and serve.