Grilled Fresh Sardines with Fennel and Preserved Lemon

25 mins (prep 25)
12 ingredients
makes 6 (first course) servings
At the thought of Morocco, the mind tends to wander to the teeming heart of Marrakech; but the windswept coastal city of Essaouira, with its whitewashed buildings and heaping displays of glimmering fish (which you can have grilled on the spot), offers another sort of paradise. We can't supply Essaouira's particular perfume of sea and smoke, but the simplicity and clean flavors of this lemon-infused dish will take you there in spirit.

Categories:  moroccan ,
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  • 2 medium fennel bupounds (sometimes labeled "anise"; about 1 1/2 pounds total), stalks discarded and bulb halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (1/2 cup)
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped rind (zest and white pith) from preserved lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 fresh sardines (about 2 to 3 ounces each), cleaned, leaving head and tail intact
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • special equipment: a well-seasoned ridged grill pan


Serving Size (36.24 g)
Servings 6
Amount per Serving
Calories 110.43 Calories from Fat 111.33
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12.37g 114.14%
Saturated Fat 1.71g 51.21%
Trans Fat 0.0g %
Cholesterol 0.0mg 0.0%
Sodium 195.07mg 48.77%
Total Carbohydrate 0.3g 0.61%
Dietary Fiber 0.16 g 3.83%
Sugars 0.0 g %
Protein 0.06g 0.77%
Vitamin A 1.96IU% Vitamin C 0.04mg%
Calcium 4.66mg% Iron 0.14mg%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your diet value must be higher or lower depending upon your calorie needs:
  Calories 2,000 2,500
Total Fat Less Than 65g 80g
Sat Fat Less Than 20g 25g
Cholesterol Less Than 300mg 300mg
Sodium Less Than 2,400mg 2,400mg
Total Carb   300g 375g
Dietary Fiber   25g 30g
Potassium   3,500 mg
Protein   50 g
Calories Per Gram
Fat 9•Carbohydrate 4•Protein 4
*Nutrition information was calculated excluding the following ingredients:
finely chopped, fresh, fine sea salt, crushed fennel seeds, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, a, special equipment