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Sardines with fennel and orange

There's something special about the rich oiliness of sardines. Get whole sardines if you can - they're amazing - but butterflied fillets will suffice for this dish. Fennel and orange are classic accompaniments for good reason - they cut through and balance the sardines' flavour. For something truly special, try cooking the sardines over coals - sardines love smoke.

You'll need

50 ml extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 baby fennel bulbs, fronds reserved 1 tsp fennel seeds Zested rind of 1 orange 1 tbsp orange juice 1 tbsp Pernod 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 12 whole sardines For brushing: olive oil 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • 01
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add onion and garlic and sauté over low heat until onion is very tender (7-8 minutes).
  • 02
  • Finely dice 1 fennel bulb, add to pan with fennel seeds and sauté until fennel begins to soften (3-4 minutes). Add orange zest and juice, Pernod and vinegar, increase heat to high and reduce until syrupy (1 minute). Season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Preheat a char-grill pan over high heat. Brush sardines with oil and season, add to char-grill and cook, turning once until just cooked (2-3 minutes each side). Spoon fennel and orange onto serving plate, top with grilled sardines. Using a mandolin, thinly shave remaining fennel and toss with a few reserved fennel fronds and the lemon juice, then scatter over sardines and serve immediately.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Oct 2013

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