Charcoal sardines

In saffron, vinegar and almond oil

Charcoal sardines

Charcoal sardines

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main
DifficultyNot too tricky
Recipe From

Take One Fish

By Josh Niland
Tap For Method

Ingredients

  • 8 sardines , from sustainable sources
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) grapeseed oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • garum (see tip) or fish sauce, to taste
  • slivered almonds, to garnish , (optional)
  • Saffron vinegar
  • 1 small pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) chardonnay
  • vinegar
Tap For Method
Recipe From

Take One Fish

By Josh Niland
Tap For Ingredients

Method

To make the saffron vinegar, add the saffron to the vinegar in a sterile Mason (Kilner) jar or clean airtight container. Stir to combine and store at room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours. Obviously, the longer you can leave this vinegar to develop flavour the better – it can be made well in advance and will keep indefinitely in the pantry, gradually becoming more flavourful. Use it in salad dressings.

Either preheat a chargrill pan over a high heat or a charcoal grill with evenly burnt-down embers.

Thread the sardines onto metal or soaked bamboo skewers. Brush with the grapeseed oil and season with salt flakes.

Grill for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until evenly coloured and the flesh is warm to the touch. Carefully tip the grill rack to free the fish onto a clean surface. Alternatively, use an offset spatula to free the sardines from the grill. While you want the skin to be well coloured, it is critical that the sardines are still a little underdone. The saffron vinegar will finish off the ‘cooking’ process.

Leave the fish to rest for 2 minutes.

Brush the sardines with almond oil and season with a little more salt and a touch of pepper, then place them in the centre of a plate. Dress with a liberal spoonful of the saffron vinegar, garum (see tip) or fish sauce to taste, and a few drops of almond oil, and top with a few slivered almonds, if you like.

Tips

GARUM
You can find garum online, or follow Josh's method to make your own (you'll need a circulator bath).

To produce the garum, calculate the total weight of heads, bones and scraps you have from small fish such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies or gurnard (make sure that the gall bladder is removed as it will make the finished sauce extremely bitter). Measure 50% of that weight in water and add to the trimmings. Calculate 20% cent of the combined weight and add this quantity of fine salt.

Mix together, then transfer to a Mason (Kilner) jar, seal and place in a circulator bath set to 40°C (104°F). Leave for 7 days, stirring once a day.

Once it’s ready, store the garum in a sterilised Mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Recipe From

Take One Fish

By Josh Niland