1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus lemon wedges for serving
12 or more fresh thyme sprigs, plus chopped fresh thyme for garnish
8 to 12 large sardines gutted, with heads on
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Heat the broiler until hot. Move the oven rack as close to the heat source as possible. Heat a sturdy pan for about five minutes.
Wrap a lemon slice around each thyme sprig and stuff inside the sardines; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, remove it from the oven and pour in half of the olive oil, then put the sardines in the pan and drizzle with the remaining oil.
Broil for 4-5 minutes, then check the sardines; they’re ready when they’re opaque, the tip of a knife flakes the thickest part easily, and the outside is nicely browned.
To serve, carefully remove the sardines with a spatula, sprinkle with more herbs, and pour the pan juices over all.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe by Mark Bittman for The New York Times