In France in the summertime, sardines are the most common thing you’ll find on barbecues, but here I'm cooking them in a slightly posher way. They’ve been butterflied and that way they’ll cook faster.


  • 8 Plump Cleaned Sardines

  • Salt and Pepper

  • Two onions

  • Four Tomatoes

  • 3 tbs crushed bread crumbs

  • Chopped garlic, thyme and flat leafed parsley


  • 1.

    Lay the sardines face down on a tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper, before putting into a very hot oven at about two hundred degrees celsius.

  • 2.

    Now, until they start to sizzle, we’re going to poach the red onions in quite a lot of olive oil. The idea is that the olive oil is going to come up to about sixty or seventy degrees, and just soften the onions. And make sure they are completely covered in the olive oil.

  • 3.

    While these are poaching, make the tomate a la provencale. Put the tomatoes flesh side down, in the oil.

  • 4.

    While the tomatoes are browning, prepare the topping, some very fine crushed bread crumbs, chopped garlic, some thyme and some flat leafed parsley and put them aside.

  • 5.

    Once the tomatoes have fried nicely on one side, they can be put into the dish for serving. Then sprinkle some of these lovely bread crumbs with garlic and parsley and thyme over the tomatoes.

  • 6.

    Place tomatoes into the oven, just as the sardines are coming out and then turn the heat goes off under the onions and pour onions over the sardines. It’s sort of a mix between of chutney and tinned sardines really, with the oil and the vinegar and the aromats.

  • 7.

    That seems like an awful lot of oil, but you're not supposed to eat it. It’s just to give the sardines a great taste and a great texture.

  • 8.

    The sardines are left to infuse in the lovely flavour of the red onions.


Eaten hot, warm or cold, it’s a great dish for a lazy summer day, grilled sardines with a confit of red onions.

Serve the tomatoes as an accompaniment. Really, it’s the simplest of dishes. And this will make a nice fresh accompaniment to the sardines.

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