8butterflied sardine fillets (about 100gm each), pin-boned250 ml(1 cup) white wine vinegar1 tbspcaster sugar1 tspcoarsely crushed black peppercorns1fresh bay leaf2golden shallots, shaved on a mandolin800 gmheirloom cherry tomatoes200 mlextra-virgin olive oil4thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to serve4thick slices sourdough bread1garlic clove, halvedTo serve:lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 200C. Place sardines in a single layer in a non-reactive container. Bring vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaf and 50ml water to the simmer in a saucepan over high heat, add shallot, then pour over sardines and set aside to pickle (20-25 minutes). Drain sardines (discard liquid), drizzle with 80ml oil, season to taste and set aside.
Meanwhile, scatter tomatoes and thyme in a roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tbsp oil, season to taste and roast until skins blister (15-20 minutes).
Preheat grill to high heat. Drizzle bread with remaining oil and grill, turning once, until golden (2-3 minutes). Rub with cut-side of garlic, top with tomato mixture, sardines and shallot, season to taste, scatter with extra thyme and serve with lemon wedges.