Sardine escabeche

Sardine escabeche

Chef, presenter and co-founder of Wahaca, Thomasina Miers OBE brings us the ideal make-ahead fish recipe. She says: “escabeche is an astonishingly under-rated dish with origins somewhere en route between Sicily and Mexico. In both countries balancing sweet-sour flavours in food is something of an art form. All the work can be done in advance, making this sardine escabeche a beautifully simple dish to serve for a summer lunch party”.

Sardine escabeche

Take a look at our sustainable hake and rhubarb ceviche, too.

Photography: David Loftus

  • Serves icon Serves 3-4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, plus marinating

Chef, presenter and co-founder of Wahaca, Thomasina Miers OBE brings us the ideal make-ahead fish recipe. She says: “escabeche is an astonishingly under-rated dish with origins somewhere en route between Sicily and Mexico. In both countries balancing sweet-sour flavours in food is something of an art form. All the work can be done in advance, making this sardine escabeche a beautifully simple dish to serve for a summer lunch party”.

Take a look at our sustainable hake and rhubarb ceviche, too.

Photography: David Loftus

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
394kcals
Fat
24g (4.4g saturated)
Protein
10g
Carbohydrates
26g (17g sugars)
Fibre
3.6g
Salt
0.2g

Ingredients

  • 6 sardines, cleaned and filleted
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal or polenta
  • Large knob or two of unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 4 radishes, finely sliced
  • ¼ bunch flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Crusty bread, boiled new potatoes and/or a green salad to serve (optional)

For the escabeche

  • 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into thick wedges
  • 2-3 fat garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram or thyme, roughly chopped
  • ½ green chilli, sliced
  • 40g currants
  • 125ml chicken stock or water
  • 1-2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 90ml dry white wine or dry sherry
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 allspice berries or 1 tsp ground allspice
  • Pinch brown sugar
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Method

  1. To make the escabeche, pour the olive oil into a deep frying or sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, carrots, herbs, chilli and currants. Stir regularly and cook for another 5-6 minutes, turning the heat down if anything threatens to burn or catch on the pan. Pour in the stock, cider vinegar, wine and spices. Bring a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, tasting after 5 minutes and adjusting the flavour with the brown sugar and more salt and pepper to create a rich, moreish sauce that is tantalisingly sharp and sweet and beautifully flavoured.
  2. While the sauce is cooking, prepare the sardines. Dust the sardine fillets in seasoned cornmeal or polenta. Heat a knob of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan and cook the sardine fillets in 2 or 3 batches for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they have a lovely, golden crust, adding a little extra butter if necessary. Drain the fillets on kitchen paper then transfer to a shallow dish.
  3. Spoon the onions in their sauce (the escabeche) over the sardine fillets and leave to marinate for half an hour (see Make Ahead). Sprinkle the pine kernels, the radishes and chopped parsley over the escabeche just before serving. Serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up the deliciously piquant juices. A green salad and some boiled new potatoes would also be sublime.

Nutrition

Calories
394kcals
Fat
24g (4.4g saturated)
Protein
10g
Carbohydrates
26g (17g sugars)
Fibre
3.6g
Salt
0.2g

delicious. tips

  1. Be patient with slow-cooking the onions to bring out their sweetness.

  2. The sardine fillets can be marinated in the escabeche for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

  3. “A meaty and oily fish, Cornish sardines are a simple swap for a ‘Big Five species’ like salmon, if you’re looking to try and eat more UK-caught species of fish. Sardines are also extremely good for you – they’re packed with vital nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and potassium to support a healthy heart and reduce blood pressure. Choosing MSC certified sustainable seafood gives us the ability to shape a better future for the seas.” Thomasina Miers OBE

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Recipe By

Thomasina Miers

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