Sardines are a super healthy food and plentiful, they are a fairly local fish for us, coming from the Mediteranean sea, which makes them cheap and easy to buy fresh. Sardines have a strong taste and I normally prefer them just dusted with seasoned flour and cooked over coals but I do like them with pasta, especially if teamed with tomatoes and parsley to cut through the oiliness of the fish.
- pasta to serve 2
- olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2-3 fresh sardines
- 2-3 tomatoes or 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- large handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
- sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Cookthe pasta in boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until ‘al dente’. Fillet the sardines removing any larger bones and cut into bite size pieces. Put a good slug of olive oil in a wide pan over heat then add the garlic and when the aroma rises add the fish. Fry gently then add 2 or 3 skinned and chopped tomatoes (I used home-made passata when I am in a rush or you could use tinned tomatoes) stir well and cook until the fish is cooked through and the sauce thickens, 5-8 minutes. Season and stir in the parsley and serve on a bed of pasta with a splash of fresh lemon juice.
A note on the pasta
You can use any pasta, I used Casarecci, which means “home style” usually two-inch-long thin twists, popular in the Puglia region of Italy.
I sometimes like to add the grated zest & juice of half a lemon, or roasted sweet red peppers.
Notes on the Recipe
When thinking about making this dish (all I wanted was sardines, tomatoes and parsley) I did some research to see if there were any traditional recipes for pasta with sardines, as it seemed such a natural combination to me. I came accross many versions of various types of pasta with sardines but non in the vein of what I had in mind. The most common are those which include pinenuts and sultanas and have their origins in the Arab or Saracens influenced Southern and Sicillian cuisines. In addition to the sultanas and pine nuts some recipes also include breadcrumbs, saffron and cheese. Non of them were really what I had in mind but here are some interesting examples if you want to take a look at Accidental Hedonist, Joanna’s Food, or Histoire de pates.