Inspired by something delicious tasted on Thassos island
500 g of fresh sprats (or small horse mackerel, or sardines)
50 g dried tomatoes
2-3 dried red peppers
1-2 cloves of garlic
3 sprigs of fresh basil
Cut the belly of the small fish and scoop the inside. Remove the heads. Then press gently inside the abdomen and detach the fishbone without tearing the fillet. Use a sharp knife to gently pull the fishbone from the second fillet. Cut it close to the tail without removing the latter. You should have triangular fish fillets ending with the tail. Rinse the fillets under cold water .
Soak the dried tomatoes and peppers in boiling water, then drain. In a large jar, gather the softened vegetables and other ingredients, pouring approximately 50 ml of olive oil. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth paste. Add as much olive oil as necessary to make a thick pesto. No need to add salt for the dried tomatoes are usually salted.
Pair the small sprats glueing them with a teaspoon of pesto. Heat a nonstick pan (a grill pan) and grease it with oil. Grill the stuffed sprats for 1-2 minutes on each side. To prevent them from sticking to the pan (as they cook skin side), wipe it with a piece of kitchen paper and grease again between each batch of fish.
Serve the stuffed sprat immediately with a slice of lemon, some chopped parsley and onion wheels.
Here are some photos of Thassos to help you feel the atmosphere of the island where I fell in love with these sprats. I don’t have the original recipe, but my version is quite similar to it.