Here’s the sixth of my sustainble fish recipes in support of Hugh’s Fish Fight. If you’re looking for more fishy inspiration there are plenty of recipes on his website, also Jamie has a brilliant number of sustainable fishy recipes on his website.
Here though, the focus are some delcious sardines. I love them, but as James pointed out their bones can be a bit of a turn off. So in this recipe I’ve tried to demonstrate an easy way to get rid of them. There will still be a few left in there, but you can deal with them when it comes to the eating, they are pretty small and digestible really.
The other part of this recipe is one of my favourite things in the world and is good for using up old tomatoes, or even as I’ve done here the seeds that are leftover from a deseeded tomato recipe. It comes from Spain and has various names, in Madrid I knew it as Pan Tumaca, but widely called Pan con Tomate or most usefully translated to English as Bread with Tomato. It’s even brilliant on it’s own and also with Jamon Serrano. There’s plenty of garlic in there too – that and the slightly acidic sweetness of the tomatoes will go deliciuosly with the oily little sardines.
for the sardines: 2-3 sardines per person (depending on size), olive oil, salt and pepper
for the pan tumaca: one slice of bread per person, 1 clove of garlic (cut in half), 3 tbsps of chopped up tomatoes or tomato seed and juice per slice of toast, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
This recipe serves 2 as a light lunch, but would be great as a starter or you could do them on little bits of french bread as a pre dinner treat!
Once the sardines have been gutted, cleaned and scaled to remove the bones all you need to do is make the slit on the belly side go all the way down to their tail.
Spread the opened edges out and then gently press down along the centre until you have flattened it onto the board.
Flip it over and gently pull the bones away, from the wider end down to the tail.
Neaten up a little with a knife and then either keep as one piece or cut down the middle into two fillets. They are now ready to be cooked!
Turn the grill on to a medium high heat. Toss the sardine fillets in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast your bread and rub all over with the cut side of the garlic. Spread the tomato seeds over the slices of toast and season with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
Place the sardines under the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, this will depend on the heat of your grill and the size of the fish, but they are generally pretty small fish and really won’t need long at all. Place on top of the toast and serve immediately.