Sometimes food has the power to transport you back to a certain place or time.
I love that.
These sardines do that for me.
Every time I eat one I am instantly sent back to a beach on the Costa del Sol, aged 13, with a little pink round face, shaved head and baggy England shirt.
We had a great routine on that holiday, every afternoon my mum and brother ran straight to the sea while my dad and I went straight to the beach café. We spent the heat of the day sitting under a shade with a basket of bread, a bottle of olive oil and a plate of sardines. Bad haircut and England shirt aside, I think 13 year old me had it right.
Grown up me is still in love with these little oily fish and whenever the end of the month is near they make for a brilliant cheap and healthy meal (I bought these for £2 a kilo, a plate of six should cost you £1 – £1.50 which with a pomegranate and a fresh baguette brings this meal in at well under £5 a head.
The pomegranate is a new addition, but adds a great bit of colour and texture to the dish.
A glug of oil
6 fresh sardines, filleted
1 good squeeze of lemon juice
1 pomegranate, de-jewelled (not sure if that’s a word but I’m going with it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh baguette
A good glug of olive oil (the fancier the better)
- Start off by popping the bread in the over on a low heat to warm through (gas mark 3-4 will be fine)
- Then get a wide flat pan nice and hot on a hob
- Glug some oil into the pan and then squeeze in some lemon juice, if it sizzles it’s hot enough for the fish.
- Next add the fish to the pan and fry until the skin starts to crisp, squeeze over a bit more lemon juice and then the juice from the pomegranate.
- Turn the fish regularly (2-3 mins on each side) until the skin is golden and crispy on both sides.
- Pop onto a serving plate, sprinkle over the pomegranate jewels with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with the warm bread and a cold beer. Preferably on a beach in Spain.