Lemon-Parsley Crusted Sardines

Exquisite Monterey Bay, CA-sourced sardines are perfect for sophisticated appetizers and exquisite tapas.

Fresh sardines from California waters are a true gem for seafood lovers, known for their rich flavor and sustainability. These wild-caught, local sardines boast a distinctive taste that's both savory and slightly briny, making them a perfect ingredient for a variety of dishes. High in omega-3 fatty acids and packed with essential nutrients, sardines are not only delicious but also incredibly healthy. This tapas recipe is ideal for a summer gathering or a light, flavorful appetizer that showcases the best of coastal California cuisine.

Discover the perfect recipe for lemon-parsley crusted sardines!


  • 2lb fresh sardines, cleaned and scaled
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat


  1. Preparation:

    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with olive oil.
    • Rinse the sardines under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

  2. Seasoning the Sardines:

    • In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, minced garlic, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
    • Drizzle the sardines with olive oil, ensuring they are well-coated. Roll each sardine in the breadcrumb mixture until evenly coated.

  3. Baking:

    • Arrange the breaded sardines on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the sardines are golden brown and crispy.

  4. Garnishing:

    • While the sardines are baking, prepare the parsley lemon dressing. In a small bowl, mix the chopped parsley, lemon juice, and a bit of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    • Once the sardines are done, remove them from the oven and transfer to a serving platter.
    • Drizzle the parsley lemon dressing over the baked sardines. If you like a bit of heat, sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes over the top.

  5. Serving:

    • Serve the sardines warm with additional lemon wedges on the side for squeezing. This dish pairs wonderfully with a crisp white wine or a cold beer, making it a perfect appetizer for a summer evening.

Enjoy your fresh, wild-caught Monterey Bay sardines as a delightful and sustainable seafood option that brings a taste of the west coast to your table!

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