Fast Recipes

Sardine toasts with agrodolce

Sometimes it pays to keep it simple. Toasty bread, butterflied sardines, agrodolce. Dinner done.

By Emma McCaskill
  • Serves 4
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  • 1 golden shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus extra to taste
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 butterflied sardine fillets (see note)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Dill sprigs, to serve
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400 gm canned cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • ½ tsp brown sugar


  • 1
    Combine shallot and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside to soften.
  • 2
    For agrodolce, bring vinegar and currants to the boil in a small saucepan. Pour into a small bowl and leave for 5 minutes to plump. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until soft (8-10 minutes). Add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick (5-7 minutes). Stir in pine nuts, sugar and vinegar and currants, and season to taste.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, heat a barbecue or char-grill pan to high heat. Brush bread with extra-virgin olive oil and grill until lightly charred (1-2 minutes each side). Cut toasts in half diagonally.
  • 4
    Season sardines on the skin-side to taste. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil and fry sardines, skin-side down, until almost cooked through (1 minute). Season flesh-side to taste, then turn and cook for just a few seconds. Remove sardines from pan and season with lemon juice to taste.
  • 5
    Spread each piece of toast with agrodolce, top with sardines, then a little more agrodolce. Top with shallot and dill to serve.


Canned sardines warmed through in a frying pan make a fine substitute for fresh.