One of my favourite things to do in Israel in the heat of the summer, says Eran Tibi, sous chef at Made in Camden restaurant, is to go to the beach in Tel Aviv and order a plate of sardines fresh off the barbecue. They are usually served very simply with herbs, lemon and pitta bread and a pint of cold beer on the side. This recipe is an interpretation of that nostalgic comfort food.
At Made in Camden we serve our sardines with a soft herb salad, made by picking the leaves from herbs such as basil, dill, parsley and mint, adding thinly sliced chilli and pomegranate seeds and dressing lightly with olive oil. We use sourdough bread for its taste and texture, but it can be substituted for any other bread you like, such as ciabatta, so long as it is good for soaking up the dressing and juices.
● 12 sardines, gutted and butterflied (ask your fishmonger to do it)
● 4 slices white sourdough bread or ciabatta, toasted or grilled
● 2 red chilli, finely diced
● 2 green chilli, finely diced
● 2 garlic clove, minced or crushed
● 2 sprigs of lemon thyme, picked
● 100ml olive oil
● 2 lemons, juiced
● ½ bunch of coriander, finely chopped
● Salt and pepper
● To make the dressing, combine the red and green chilli, garlic, picked lemon thyme leaves, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Season.
● Heat a skillet, barbecue or griddle pan until smoking hot. Brush the sardines with olive oil and season.
● Cook the sardines skin side down for approximately 2 minutes, until nice charred grill lines appear, before carefully turning over and finishing for another minute.
● To serve, carefully remove the sardines from the grill and place three on top of each slice of toasted sourdough.
● Drizzle the dressing over the fish, ensuring enough is provided to soak into the bread. Sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.
● Garnish the plate with a wedge of lemon and serve with a mixed leaf or soft herb salad