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Niçoise-Style Sardines and Baby Artichokes

Servings: 6 to 8

Fresh sardines are perfect in this modern spin on the traditional niçoise. From a sustainability standpoint, Pacific sardines are a good seafood choice. (If you can’t find them locally, Spanish mackerel make a great substitute.)


  • 3 lemons
  • 20 fresh baby artichokes
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup drained, finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup good-quality jarred black olive tapenade
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb. haricots verts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal (about 1 cup)
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 to 16 Pacific sardines (depending on size), scaled and gutted
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil; more as needed

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 400
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 290
  • Fat (g): 32
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 570
  • Carbohydrates (g): 9
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Sugar (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 19


  • Fill a large bowl with cold water. Cut 2 lemons in half crosswise, squeeze the juice from the halves into the water, and then add the halved lemons. Prepare the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves and trimming the bitter parts from the outside of the heart. Cut the artichoke hearts into eighth or quarter wedges, depending on their size. Submerge the artichokes fully in the lemon water.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium heat. Pat the artichokes dry, add them to the pan, and cook, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes; drain on paper towels and salt generously.
  • Finely grate the zest from the remaining lemon, and then juice it. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes with the tapenade, lemon zest, and parsley. Stir together and season with a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  • In a large skillet, gently warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and garlic, season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3-1/2 minutes. Add the haricot verts and the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes more. Off the heat, add the basil and scallions, and stir until heated through. Add the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside in a warm place.
  • Pat the fish dry with paper towels, and season all over with salt. Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and add the sunflower oil. When hot, add the fish in batches, and cook until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels, then to a rack. Repeat with the remaining fish, adding oil as needed. On a large serving platter, create a bed of the baby artichokes and top with the fish. Spoon the fennel mixture around, and garnish with the tomato-olive mixture.


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