Rick says: “I wrote this recipe as a result of some irritation at being given such delicacies as perfectly fresh sardines in the ﬁshing village of Port-Vendres that had been fried within an inch of their lives. It was almost like eating sticks. I’d noticed the same phenomenon after a morning’s freshwater ﬁshing on the Dordogne River. We had a lunch of hard-fried gudgeons, minnows, crayﬁsh and eels, all overcooked in the same way; the saving grace was the mayonnaise. Granted a lot of river ﬁsh are quite tasteless but not sardines.
No excuse there. Here’s a better way.”
12 sardines, cleaned
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large clove garlic, grated
Pinch of chilli ﬂakes
1 medium tomato, skinned and cut into small dice
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 thyme sprig, leaves chopped
1 tsp chopped flatleaf parsley
Salt and black pepper
Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and season with salt and plenty of pepper.
Brush the sardines all over with the oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. Grill them on a hot barbecue or under a hot grill for about 2–4 minutes on each side, depending on size.
Spoon the dressing over and around the sardines and serve with a green salad.