Home » Fried Sardines and Salt-Crusted Branzino

Fried Sardines and Salt-Crusted Branzino

MasterChef Junior Fish Dishes

While I was making these MasterChef Junior fish recipes, the song, “Somebody’s watching me” by Rockwell was playing through my head. If you want this classic 80’s song in your head all day, click here. The video is actually so bad, it’s good.

I recently announced in my Panna Cotta, Two Ways post that I am going to try and combine my handful of remaining MCJ recipes together into one blog (and subsequently my other social media platforms). When I was picking my next recipes, I decided to knock these two out at the same time because they were both food that was looking back at me 😛

Fried Sardines

MasterChef Junior Fish: Fried Spiced Sardines from season 1


Let’s start with the sardines. Yeah, they were NOT out of a can. They were big, nasty, whole sardines. I didn’t realize until I started getting ready to make the dish that I had to scale and gut them, too. Talk about an interesting experience…I watched a video on YouTube that was only about 2 minutes long and decided to go for it. I knew it was going to be hilarious, so I decided to go live on Instagram (you should check it out LOL) because it was too good to not have an audience. I was right; it was really entertaining and also maybe a little gross. Scales and guts were everywhere. At least my followers didn’t have to smell them.

Once they were scaled, gutted, and cleaned, I dredged them in a spiced flour and fried them up. They came out so ugly. It was not fun or easy to photograph these, trying to make them look pretty. After wrapping up the shoot, I finally took a bite. Based on the traumatic experience of scaling and gutting them and knowing what they smelled like before frying, I was fully expecting to hate them. But honestly, they weren’t terrible.

Here’s some unsolicited advice, try anything *twice.* A lot of people say they’ll try anything once, but I think it’s important to give everything more than one chance. While fried sardines wasn’t my favorite recipe from the MasterChef Junior cookbook, that doesn’t mean that I am going to completely write off sardines. I will give them at least one more try in the future, if not more.

Salt Baked Branzino

MasterChef Junior Fish: stuffed Salt-Baked Branzino with roasted vegetables.

The branzino was definitely tastier than the sardine. It was a more expensive fish with expensive ingredients to compliment it. This was Logan’s main entrée for the finale (which helped him win the whole thing), and it was a very memorable dish. I had never heard of baking something in two pounds of salt before, but I remember the judges saying it was an incredibly risky move. I’m so glad it made it into the cookbook so I’d have the chance to try it.

I immediately understood why it was risky. You’re unable to tell whether the fish is cooked all the way through, so I followed Logan’s instructions to a “T” and it came out perfectly. It was not dried out at all, and I loved the flavors coming through from the stuffing. This is a fun new-to-me method of cooking which I’ll save in my back pocket for future entertaining. I’m sure my guests will love this unique preparation.

Stay tuned for the next duo or even trio of MCJ recipes by hitting the subscribe button below. Thanks for being here <3

All my love,
Dani, a big tid


Fried Sardines and Salt-Baked Branzino with Roasted Baby Vegetables
Pg. 29 + Pg. 58
Sarah, Season 1 & Logan, Season 2 (winner!)
75 + 76 down…23 to go!

Follow Along!

This Is Gonna Be Fun.

Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of the good stuff–growth + successes, failure + flops, and all honest moments in between!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

*