Fresh sardines are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are one of the most ecofriendly catches available at the fish counter. Here, a few minutes’ roasting time, some rustic smashed potatoes, and a briny lemon and olive dressing come together for a hearty Mediterranean supper.

What to buy: To save on time, have your fishmonger clean and bone the sardines for you.

Special equipment: You can find a pastry brush at kitchen supply stores or online.

See more recipes using sustainable fish.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Total: About 2 hrs

Ingredients (17)

For the potatoes:

  • 2 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the sardines:

  • 2 pounds fresh sardines, scaled, heads and fins removed, gutted, and boned
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium lemons (about 2 packed teaspoons)
  • Juice of 2 medium lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs


For the potatoes:

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, generously season the water with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are knife tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, place them on a baking sheet. Using the palm of your hand, press down on each until flattened to about a 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness (the skins will split apart and the flesh may crumble slightly).
  4. Whisk together the oil, rosemary, red pepper flakes, measured salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl until combined. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the oil mixture over the potatoes and season with salt. Using a flat spatula, flip the potatoes over, brush the remaining oil mixture over them, and season with salt.
  5. Roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Using the flat spatula, flip the potatoes over and roast until the edges and bottoms are crunchy and golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and cover with foil.

For the sardines:

  1. Keep the oven at 450°F and arrange a rack in the top position closest to the broiler.
  2. Place the sardines on a baking sheet and season the insides and outsides with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the olives, parsley, garlic, anchovies, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, measured salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Fill each sardine with a few teaspoons of the olive mixture. (The amount needed will vary depending on the size of your sardines. Do not overfill—the fish should not be gaping open.) Scatter any remaining olive mixture around the sardines on the baking sheet, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the sardines. Roast just until the fish are firm and starting to brown at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. To serve, divide the smashed potatoes among four plates. Lay the sardines over the potatoes and top with any leftover roasted-olive-and-breadcrumb mixture from the baking sheet. Serve immediately.