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 (whole or butterflied)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the 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
1) Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and season with salt and plenty of pepper.
2) 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.
3) Spoon the dressing over and around the sardines and serve with a green salad.