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Dani VennUnder The Sea

After a visit to my local baker this week I have been inspired to make a dish with sourdough that celebrates the end of season cherry tomatoes (*tear*) as well as a fish I reckon we should all be eating more of – sardines! I know some of you are turning your nose up at the thought of sardines right about now but hear me out, sardines are in abundance in our seas quite unlike larger species of fish like tuna, popular fish like snapper or environmentally questionable farmed fish like salmon. If you haven’t watched Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans ‘What’s The Catch?‘ about how shockingly unsustainable our seafood industry is then I suggest you take a gander, it’s compelling viewing and has inspired me to cook with more local and smaller fish species. Sardines are also incredibly tasty and I think they are a perfect accompaniment to a slice of golden, crunchy yet slightly chewy toast.

This recipe really is just like bruschetta fancied up with some crispy sardines and a simple basil oil, the key to this recipe is ensuring you get a proper loaf of sourdough and some sweet in season cherry toms! Enjoy..Dani x

ICS Dani Venn_March 2599

Serves 4 for brunch

Takes about 20 minutes, longer if you have to clean the sardines yourself

Number of ingredients: 5


1 loaf of proper sourdough bread, thickly sliced

300g fresh sardines, scaled and gutted (if you have a really nice fishmonger they might do this for you!)

A few cups of seasonal cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup basil leaves, reserve the smaller leaves for garnish

½ cup extra virgin olive oil


Pat dry the sardines with some paper towel and sprinkle over a little sea salt. Grab a frypan and pour in a glut of olive oil, when hot, add sardines and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes on each side (depending on how big your sardines are) until they are golden and crispy on each side.

Place basil leaves and olive oil in a blender or food processor and blitz on a high speed until you achieve a brilliant green coloured oil, no need to worry if its not completely smooth.

Put your toast in a toaster, pour over a little basil oil, top with crispy sardines, tomatoes, extra basil oil and leaves and sprinkle with salt. Serve with lightly dressed salad leaves to have for brunch!

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