Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour
1.3 pounds|600 grams sardines, bones removed (you can ask your fishmonger to do this)
1 cup|165 grams semolina
2 cups|140 grams panko breadcrumbs
peanut oil, for frying
1 1/2 pounds|700 grams whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small shallot, diced
kosher salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
8 ounces|225 grams sliced provolone cheese
1. Make the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add the shallot and cook until soft, 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until thick, 20 minutes. Season with the salt and sugar and set aside.
2. Whisk the semolina with 1 1/2 cups|325 grams water in a medium bowl to form a batter. Place the panic in a separate bowl. Dip the sardines in the batter, taking care to cover them completely, then in the panko. Transfer to a baking sheet.
3. Heat the oven to 375°F|190°C. Heat 2-inches peanut oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F|180°C. Working in batches, cook the sardines until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish and season with salt. Top the sardines with the tomato sauce and then a layer of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.