May 31, 2024

Preserved sardines with heirloom tomatoes and pickled onion

Enjoy the perfect pairing of ripe tomatoes with sardines with this beautifully fresh starter for your next dinner party.

Preserved sardines with heirloom tomatoes and pickled onion
serves 12

for pickled onions
1 purple onion (the darker the better), peeled and sliced into rings
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fennel seeds

Place all ingredients except onion in a small pot. Bring to the boil, then add the sliced onion. Bring back up to the boil then allow to cool all together in the fridge overnight.

for sardines
500g cleaned sardine trunks or fillets
1L water
35g salt
1L apple cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped (stem included)
500ml olive oil
1kg heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Mix salt with cold water to make a brine. Place sardines in the brine overnight. The next day, drain the brine away and gently rinse sardines under cold water. In a non-reactive container, submerge brined sardines in the apple cider vinegar for about 30-50 minutes until they are partially “cooked” in the acid. The flesh should have lightened on the outside. Drain pickled sardines and gently rinse under cold water, then pat them dry with a cloth. Layer sardines in a container with the garlic and parsley in between each layer. Add enough olive oil to cover, and allow to marinate for at least 24 hours. To serve, arrange sliced tomatoes on a platter, season generously with flake salt and cracked pepper followed by the pickled onion, then sardines. Dress using pickled onion solution and sardine marinating oil.


This recipe first appeared in the February 2024 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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