Marinated Sardines with Toasted Bread

Giorgio Locatelli's deep-fried sardines in a flavoursome sweet-sour marinade make a tasty topping for toast
By Giorgio Locatelli
Marinated Sardines with Toasted Bread
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-4 (as a starter or snack)
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus marinating
  • Effort: medium



  • 200 g fresh sardines
  • 500 ml groundnut oil, for deep-frying
  • 3-4 tbsp plain flour
  • 300 ml olive oil
  • 2 juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 white onions, sliced
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 50 g sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
  • 4 slices Tuscan or other Italian country bread, oasted
  • black pepper


1. Scale and clean the sardines. Using a sharp filleting knife make an incision just below the head through the flesh to the bone, then cut off the fins and carefully cut along the backbone from head to tail. Lift off the fillet from one side, then repeat on the other side. Make sure there are no bones left in the fillet. and pat dry.

2. Heat up the frying oil to 170°C (or until a cube of bread takes 1 minute to turn golden brown).

3. Dip the sardines in the flour, shaking off any excess. Fry them for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

4. Place the sardines in a single layer in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the olive oil into a frying pan. Add the juniper berries and bay leaves, and heat gently to infuse the oil.

6. Season the sliced onions with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for about 20 minutes over medium-low heat.

7. Add the vinegar and drained sultanas. Cook for 2 minutes more.

8. Carefully pour the mixture over the sardines and leave to marinate until cool.

9. Remove the sardines from the marinade. Place on top of the warm bread and serve. Alternatively, cover the cooled sardines with cling film and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

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