Sardines al saor

Sardines al saor
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 25 min, plus at least 3 hours marinating

Grilled sardines, caramelised onions and toasted pine nuts are ready to be scooped up with slices of ciabatta bread in this easy starter recipe for four.

Chef Jamie Thickett says: “Sardines make a perfect starter or snack. The Venetian term for such small dishes is cicchetti; they’re served in bars and restaurants all over town.”

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
220kcals
Fat
10.9g (2.2g saturated)
Protein
19g
Carbohydrates
11.1g (10.3g sugars)
Fibre
1.1g
Salt
0.3g
Calories
220kcals
Fat
10.9g (2.2g saturated)
Protein
19g
Carbohydrates
11.1g (10.3g sugars)
Fibre
1.1g
Salt
0.3g

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for frying and brushing
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp moscatel vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 8 sardine or mackerel fillets, skin on, pin bones removed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
  • Lemon juice to serve
  • Ciabatta, thinly sliced and toasted (crostini), to serve

Method

  1. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaves, then coat well in the oil. Season well and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender but without too much colour. Add the sugar, vinegar and raisins and cook for another 20 minutes.
  2. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until light brown, then add to the onion, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Heat the grill to high. Season the sardine/mackerel fillets on both sides and brush with olive oil. Put the fish skin-side up on a non-stick baking tray and grill for about 2 minutes. The sardines should be partially cooked and the skin should be lightly browned. Remove the tray and cool.
  4. Put half the onion in a large non-reactive (glass/plastic/ceramic) dish, then lay the cooled sardines on top, followed by the remaining onion. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  5. Take the sardines out of the fridge 40-60 minutes before serving to come up to room temperature. Scatter with chopped flatleaf parsley and a squeeze of lemon, then serve with ciabatta crostini.

delicious. tips

  1. The fish is only partially cooked in this recipe. If you prefer it cooked more, grill for 2-3 minutes longer in step 3.

  2. These taste better after at least one day. Keep covered in the fridge for 24 hours and bring back to room temperature before serving. You can make the dish up to 5 days ahead – the pickling liquid helps to preserve the fish.

Recipe By

Jamie Thickett

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