I made this recipe last year, using frozen, somewhat larger sardines from Portugal https://cookinginsens.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/deep-fried-sardines/. The ones I made today are tiny and straight out of the ocean from Fresh Paradise http://www.frischeparadies.eu/stores/stuttgart.html. I think it made a difference.
Because of their size, I didn’t bother to head or gut them but just rinsed and fried them up brown and crispy. Of course, the choice is yours.
I am proud to say that the herbs and chillies came from my garden pots
Spicy Deep Fried Sardines
1 1/2 lb tiny, fresh sardines
1 cup flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 red chillies, sliced
2 cloves garlic, slivered
2 tbsp butter
3 handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, cilantro, dill, etc)
Dredge the sardines in a mixture of the flour and bread crumbs, then fry in the peanut oil until crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels.
Saute the garlic and chillies in the butter until aromatic, remove from the flame, add the herbs and pour over the sardines.
Wine suggestion: Cold Chablis