- zest and juice 1 lemon
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- bunch parsley, half the leaves kept whole, the other half finely chopped
One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, with fronds
Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate - its strong aniseed flavour…
- 50g toasted pine nut
- 50g raisin
- handful green olives, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 4 large sardine, scaled and gutted
Sardines are named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once found in abundance. Found…
Mix the lemon zest, chopped parsley and garlic together, then set aside. Pick the fronds from the fennel and set aside. Halve the fennel bulb and finely slice. Make the salad by mixing the sliced fennel and fronds with the pine nuts, raisins, olives, and whole parsley leaves. Dress with the olive oil and lemon juice.
Heat the griddle pan or barbecue. Season the fish with rock salt (this stops them sticking). Griddle for 2-3 mins on each side until the eyes turn white. Sprinkle the fish with the parsley mix and lift onto plates. Drizzle with oil and serve with the salad.
Why are they sustainable?
Shoals of sardines are found, and fished, in many areas. As they are fast growing, stocks recover quickly, which makes them a sustainable option. During the summer months they are often caught in the waters between Cornwall and Brittany – smaller and slightly oilier fish are found in the Mediterranean and are particularly delicious.
Seasoning the fish with coarse rock salt stops them sticking to the barbecue or griddle.
How many per person?
Sardines vary in weight but are usually about 85-100g each. Generally you need to buy 3-4 per person as a main course. Sardines are part of the herring family and are basically small pilchards: both herring and sprats are good alternatives.
Choose the best
Look for fish that are still in rigor mortis, rigid and often curled in shape, ideally packed in plenty of ice. This indicates the fish haven’t been out of the water for very long. If not rigid, look for fish that are firm to touch and, importantly, have very bright raised eyes with black pupils and a clear cornea. Another key thing is the gills. The fishmonger to show you. They should be deep red if fresh, avoid any turning brown.