• 8 plump cleaned sardines
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 tblsp crushed breadcrumbs
  • chopped garlic, thyme and flat leafed parsley


  • Lay the sardines face down on a tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper, before putting into a very hot oven at about 200°C.
  • Now, until they start to sizzle, we’re going to poach the red onions in quite a lot of olive oil. And the idea is that the olive oil is going to come up to about 60 or 70°C, and just soften the onions. And make sure they are completely covered in the olive oil.
  • While these are poaching, make the tomate a la provencale. Really, it’s the simplest of dishes. And this will make a nice fresh accompaniment to the sardines.
  • Put the tomatoes flesh side down, in the oil. While the tomatoes are browning, prepare the topping, some very fine crushed breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, some thyme and some flat leafed parsley and put them aside.
  • Once the tomatoes have fried nicely on one side, they can be put into the dish for serving. Then sprinkle some of these lovely breadcrumbs with garlic and parsley and thyme over the tomatoes.
  • And then they go into the oven, just as the sardines are coming out and then the heat goes off under the onions and this gets poured over the sardines.
  • It’s sort of a mix between of chutney and tinned sardines, really, with the oil and the vinegar and the aromats. That seems like an awful lot of oil, but you're not supposed to eat it. It’s just to give the sardines a great taste and a great texture. The sardines are left to infuse in the lovely flavour of the red onions.
  • Eaten hot, warm or cold, it’s a great dish for a lazy summer day.