March True Simple Fresh Sardines on toast

Beautiful sardines are coming into season. These oily fish are rich in vitamins, minerals & omega 3. They should be firm, clean smelling & shiny silver in appearance to guarantee you are getting the freshest fish.

Sardines on toast with tapenade & tomato dressing are, very simple and unbeatable as starter or light snack.

During March it is your last chance to use Kale & purple sprouting broccoli in your dishes, so make the most of these lovely vegetables. It is also last chance to eat mussels at their best, steam them with shallots, chilli, ginger, garlic, lime juice & a little coconut juice & soak up the juice with a crispy baguette. Don’t forget to discard the open ones prior to cooking & don’t eat the closed ones once cooked. Always remove the beards prior to cooking

Also coming in to season is the subtle green leaves of wild garlic which can be used as flavouring or in salad & beautiful fresh cockles that are prefect steamed with samphire.

True Simple Fresh Sardines on toast (4)

Ingredients

Sardines on toast

  • 50ml of rapeseed oil
  • 80g of shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 12 sardine fillets
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Home-made salad cream

  • 1 tbsp of plain flour
  • 4 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of English mustard powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml of white wine vinegar
  • 150ml of double cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

1. To make the sardines on toast, heat the rapeseed oil in a saucepan, add the shallots and cook on high for a few minutes until the shallots gain a little colour

2. Turn down the heat to low and cook gently for around 40 minutes until golden and caramelised. Then just keep warm.

3. For the salad cream, mix together the flour, sugar and mustard powder. Beat in the eggs and white wine vinegar

4. Place the mixture in a heatproof bowl and heat gently over barely simmering water until the flour has cooked. Leave to one side to cool, then stir in the cream. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Its really worth making yourself!

5. To make the tomato dressing, mix together the ketchup, vinegar, and mustard. Then with a hand blender, emulsify the oil into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper

6. Make four bread croutes, by preheating the oven to 180˚C/Gas mark 4 and placing two flat baking sheets in the oven. Cut the bread so that you have four pieces 15cm long by 3cm wide by 0.5cm thick

7. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and sea salt, lay on one of the baking sheets and place the other on top. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven

8. Arrange the sardine fillets on a tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper. Place the sardines under a hot grill for around 3-5 minutes or until cooked. Season with salt

9. To serve the sardines on toast, spoon a line of warm caramelised shallot in the centre of each croute, and lay three sardine fillets on top on an angle

10. Mix the diced cucumber and tomato with 120ml of the tomato dressing. Spoon along the bottom of each croute (at 6 o’clock on the plate)

11. Along the top lay 3 radish discs each with a small amount of salad cream (10g per portion approx) piped on and micro cress scattered over

Tomato dressing

  • 30ml of tomato ketchup
  • 30ml of white wine vinegar
  • 15g of Dijon mustard
  • 135ml of first press olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

To plate

  • 60g of cucumber, diced
  • 60g of tomato, diced
  • 1 handful of micro cress
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 radishes, cut into discs