Take a peek into our cupboards and you’ll almost always find one or two tins of sardines on stock. It’s a very versatile fish and particularly frugal from a tin. However, a certain something is lost in translation; fresh sardines are among my favourite fish. Oily and packed with flavour, they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Baked Fresh Sardines are a treat.
But I do fresh sardines a disservice by making them sound expensive; they’re certainly not. Our local fishmongers was selling them off at 40p each! And these weren’t any old sardines; they weren’t to be faulted.
As far as I’m concerned, when dealing with fish there’s one rule that must be adhered to; simplicity. It’s a shame to drown out the flavour of fish with complex flavours. A bit of garlic here, a glug of oil there and a sprinkling of lemon juice is about as fancy as a recipe like this needs to get. Have you tasted sardines? Flavour will never be lacking.
Don’t feel obliged to bake your fish either. It isn’t the time of year, but sardines are delicious straight off the barbecue or even grilled. Just be careful not to overcook your fish; sardines should never be dry!
Baked Fresh Sardines
- 10 fresh sardines, gutted
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- a twist of black pepper
- parsley to serve, finely chopped
- Lay the sardines in a large oven-proof dish. Cover with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Turn each fish and cover the dish with foil. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200C/180C(fan). Remove the foil and bake until cooked through and starting to brown.
- Eat immediately with fresh, crusty bread and a little parsley.
Cost: 10 fresh sardines are plenty for 3-4 people, especially with a hunk of bread. And at 40p per fish, this recipe shouldn’t set you back much more than £4.60.