Not tinned sardines

Not tinned sardines

Posh Toast
25 mins

Sardines on toast used to be a storecupboard favourite but these days fresh sardines are easy to find. This elegant version is redolent of a Mediterranean mini-break, but if you’re feeling nostalgic you can crack open a tin.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 small garlic clove, crushed
325g cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree, (paste)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
6 butterflied sardines, small bones removed
4 slices brown bread
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and cook gently for 5 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle over the sugar, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until the sugar has melted. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, until softened. Add a splash of water if the shallots are on the edge of burning.
  2. Squash the tomatoes down with the back of a wooden spoon or a fork, then stir in the tomato purée and 3 tbsp water. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes, then add the vinegar and some seasoning. Set aside whilst you cook the sardines.
  3. Heat ½ tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Halve each butterflied sardine so that you have 12 fillets. Place 6 fillets in the hot pan, skin-side down and cook for 1 –2 minutes, until golden and crispy, then carefully turn over and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining fillets.
  4. Toast the bread and spoon over the tomato sauce. Top with the sardines, drizzle over the remaining oil and grind over a little black pepper.
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