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These silver-skinned oily fish are available fresh or tinned. Find out how to choose the best sardines, and top tips to prepare and cook them.
Sardines are named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once found in abundance. Found in shoals throughout the Atlantic and Mediterranean, sardines have a silver skin and a rich-flavoured flesh that is dark in colour.
A very healthy oily fish, older sardines are known as pilchards. Tinned sardines are also common, and while they lack the subtlety of taste of the fresh fish, they are a useful storecupboard ingredient.
Sardines do not travel well, so choose fish caught as locally as possible. Select bright-eyed, fresh looking fish with shiny skin.
Scale and gut your sardines before use. This is quite simple - just remove the head and twist the backbone out.
Read our guide on how to butterfly sardines.
Sardines do not keep well, and should be eaten as fresh as possible.
Sardines are best treated simply - grill, barbeque or fry them with simple Mediterranean accompaniments.
Have a look at our sardine recipe collection.
Try anchovy or mackerel.