Superior Sardines

Superior sardines

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Wrap a strip of ham round each pair of fillets then stab with a cocktail stick to keep together.
  4. Put the shallots and garlic in a pan with the vinegar and an eggcupful of water. Simmer until nearly dry.
  5. Add puree and sugar, cook for 4 mins. Now add the herbs and tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Cook the sardines under a medium to high grill. They will need about 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Season the tomato sauce to taste with chilli, salt and pepper.
  8. If you hanker for some toast to go under these sardines, use sourdough bread.
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