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Portuguese sardines in particular are prized as being the fattest and sweetest sardines in the world. In this simple but tasty recipe, the sardines are stuffed with vegetables (Eggplant, peppers, garlic and carrots) and crabmeat, and then deep-fried. Rather than being served as an after dinner drink, a young tawny port would complement the oily and strong flavor of the sardines sublimely. Enjoy port wine with your meals instead of after!
- 8 large fresh sardines (Bela-Olh are particularly good)
- 1 medium sized crab
- 2 onions
- 100 g carrots
- 100 g leeks
- 100 g small squash
- 100 g eggplant (aubergine)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 eggs
- 150 g corn bread
- 8 ounces (2 dl) tomato paste (Passata)
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 50 g flour
- 1 lemon
- 8 oz (2 dl) extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz (2 dl) cooking oil
- 2 bay leaves
- chopped parsley for the garnish
- Fill a large pot with water, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add the crab.
- Bring the water to a boil again and cook for 5 minutes on high heat.
- Cool and remove all of the crabmeat from the shell.
- In a frying pan, add the olive oil and add the onions (chopped), garlic, one of the bay leaves, the crumbled corn bread and the crab meat.
- Fry and mix well.
- When cooked golden, turn off heat and put aside.
- On a chopping board, lay out the sardines and chop off the heads.
- Slice open the sardines, remove the bones and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Stuff the sardines with the crab mix from the frying pan.
- Coat the sardines in flour, dip in the whisked eggs and then dip in the breadcrumbs.
- Press the sardines slightly to close them and fry in very hot oil.
- When fully fried, drain them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Boil and mash the potatoes, adding milk, butter and one egg yolk.
- Slice the vegetables into thin strips and fry them in very hot oil.
- Drain on paper towel.
- Place them in a preheated oven to crisp.
- On a serving dish, place a mound of mashed potatoes (use a 3 inch diameter metal ring to shape the mound).
- Place the sardines and the crisped vegetables on top.
- Heat the tomato paste (Passata) in the frying pan, and then pour the tomato paste around the edge of the plate, forming a circle.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and slices of lemon.