Using tinned sardines, you can knock this up from the contents
of a well-stocked pantry, but fresh sardines take it to a whole
300 mlwhite wine vinegar50 mldry white wine2 tbspcaster sugar½small Spanish onion, thinly sliced3thyme sprigs1fresh bay leaf1garlic clove, thinly sliced, plus 1 clove extra, halved70 mlolive oil20sardine fillets (45gm each)For dusting:seasoned plain flour8thick sourdough bread slicesParsley and lemon salad2 cups(loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley2lemons, seeds removed, segmented, juice reserved30 mlextra-virgin olive oil
Preheat a grill to high heat. Combine vinegar, wine, sugar, onion, herbs and sliced garlic in a saucepan, season to taste, bring to the boil over high heat, set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 20ml oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Dust sardines in seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then cook in batches, skin-side down, until golden (2-3 minutes), turn and cook for another minute. Wipe out pan with absorbent paper between batches. Transfer to a heatproof, non-reactive dish large enough to hold sardines in a single layer. Pour over vinegar mixture and stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drizzle bread with remaining oil and grill, turning once, until golden and toasted (1-2 minutes each side), rub with cut-side of garlic and keep warm.
For parsley and lemon salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, breaking up lemon segments with your fingers, season to taste and toss lightly to combine. Serve with soused sardines and sourdough toast.