This is a delicious starter using fresh sardines that are incredibly cheap to buy. If you don’t like bony fish then this recipe may not be for you. I did try to remove as many as I could but they are so fine it is virtually impossible. Nevertheless, it was really tasty especially with the two different toppings. The guacamole works really well with the drizzle of parsley pesto and offers a cool flavour after the tomato topping, which sort of resembles a bloody mary, fiery and hot.
Serves 2You will need: 200g fresh sardines, butterfly fillets Salt and black pepper Fresh loaf, I used Mediterranean bread but you could also use sourdough or something similar, sliced on the diagonal. 1-2 tbsp olive oil Extra Virgin Olive oil Guacamole topping Tub of guacamole Handful fresh parsley, including stalks Handful pine kernals Handful Parmesan cheese, finely grated A good glug Extra Virgin Olive oil 1 clove of garlic Tomato topping Handful of cherry tomatoes 1 red chilli, chopped 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped Glug of vodka Dash of tobasco
Preheat the grill.
Firstly, make the guacamole topping as this is served cold you can leave it to one side until you’re ready to use it. Place all of the ingredients except the guacamole into a blender and pulse for a minute or two, the parsley should be finely chopped and the consistency of a slightly runny pesto. Add a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil if it’s too thick. Keep to one side whilst you get on with the other topping.
For the tomato topping, heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and chilli. Saute for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook until the skins are blistered, this should take between 5 and 10 minutes. Add a good glug of vodka to the pan and be careful as it may spit. Let this cook for a few minutes or until the vodka has reduced by half. Add a dash of Tabasco and with a fork start to gently squash the tomatoes, you should end up with a thicker sauce. Stir in the coriander and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Let it simmer over a very low heat while you prepare the sardines and toast.
Place the sardines flesh side up on a baking tray and place under the grill for the about 5 minutes, turn over and grill the other side for a couple of minutes more. Once cooked, you may want to slice the fillets in half to make them go further. Place your bread on a baking tray and lightly toast it until golden and crispy. Now it’s time to add your toppings, on half of the toasts spread a spoonful of guacamole over the top. Add a sardine or two and then a drizzle of the parsley pesto adna garnish of parsley. On the other half of the toast, add a spoonful of the tomato sauce, top with a sardine or two and scatter some extra coriander over the top. I like to add a some black pepper to these. Place the your sardines on toast on to a serving plate and drizzle with some more extra virgin olive to finish off.