Serves 4 as a main course
- 600-800g sardine fillets
- small bunch of basil
- packet of parma ham or similar
- about a dozen cocktail sticks
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 shallots
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- squeeze of tomato puree
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- pinch chilli powder
- a little mint, basil, coriander
- salt and pepper
- Defrost the sardine fillets, peel and chop shallots and garlic, chop the mint, basil and coriander. Season fillets with pepper. Cut each slice of ham in half lengthways.
- Sometimes the sardines fiilets are 'butterflied double fillets' with two clear sides and a hinge down the middle. Sometimes they are single fillets. If butterflied, fold each pair back on itself with 3 or 4 leaves of basil in the middle. If singles, make sandwiches from pairs of fillets with the basil between.
- Wrap a strip of ham round each pair of fillets then stab with a cocktail stick to keep together.
- Put the shallots and garlic in a pan with the vinegar and an eggcupful of water. Simmer until nearly dry.
- Add puree and sugar, cook for 4 mins. Now add the herbs and tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Cook the sardines under a medium to high grill. They will need about 4 minutes on each side.
- Season the tomato sauce to taste with chilli, salt and pepper.
- If you hanker for some toast to go under these sardines, use sourdough bread.