Grilled sardines with a tomato, garlic and thyme recipe

SERVES 4

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.”

INGREDIENTS

12 sardines, cleaned
1 tbsp olive oil
Dressing
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

METHOD

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.

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