Grilled sardines with ham and basil, and tomato relish recipe

This is a recipe from the Michel Roux Jr and Bordeaux wine partnership

A little fish that packs a serious punch of flavour, this recipe takes sardines on toast to another level. The relish can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Serves 6

Grilled sardines with Ham, Basil & Tomato RelishIngredients:

36 sardine fillets
1 bunch of basil
9 thin slices of Parma ham sliced in half lengthways

For the tomato relish:

8 large tomatoes
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp of tomato paste
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
Salt and pepper
Pinch of chilli powder
1 tbsp each of mint, basil and coriander, roughly chopped


For the sardines:

  1. Place 3 basil leaves on a sardine fillet, season with pepper and place another fillet on top.
  2. Wrap each pair of fillets in a slice of ham and hold together with a wooden cocktail stick.
  3. Grill for 4 minutes each side and serve with the relish.
  4. If you want to serve the sardines with toast, grill some slices of sourdough bread and rub with a little garlic. Top with some relish followed by the sardines.

For the tomato relish:

  1. Blanch the tomatoes and remove the skin. De-seed them and chop roughly.
  2. Put the shallots and garlic in a pan with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water. Simmer until almost dry, then add the tomato paste and sugar.
  3. Continue to cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato flesh, season to taste with salt, pepper and chilli powder and simmer for 10-12 minutes until cooked.
  4. When cool, fold in the roughly chopped herbs.

My Bordeaux Wine Pick: Bordeaux Blanc

Whether you choose to serve this dish as a starter or a tea time treat, the uncomplicated freshness and approachability of a Bordeaux Blanc with its crisp, lively flavours of kiwi, gooseberry and peaches, would be a perfect wine choice.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.

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