Sardines au gratin anyone?

I am very fond of sardines; I  like fresh fish preferably barbecued with crusty bread, or tinned on toast – both just plain, no fancy sauces or garnishes, just the fish and the bread/toast. I did once have a recipe for a sort of sardine paté which at the time I thought was very tasty  but ow i can’t remember what was in it apart from sardines and lemon juice and also I’m not sure I would still like it… maybe I would, but no-one else in the house would!

In my ninety year old cookery book sardines feature in quite a few recipes, sardine biscuits (actually a sort of paté – but not my old half-remembered recipe, of cream cheese, hard-boiled egg yolks, cayenne pepper, served on oatmeal biscuits and garnished with watercress) sardines bouchées, sardine fingers,, sardines au gratin, sardine tomatoes and sardines on toast – two recipes, one with tomatoes, one without.. There are also two recipes for salad – plain sardine salad and then exotic sounding Corsican sardine salad. The former is a small piece of onion (how small you might wonder) lettuce, two pennyworth of mustard and cress (goodness knows how much that would be!) beetroot, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg and cold potatoes, the second salad, as well as sardines, lettuce and tomato, has chopped cucumber, minced parsley, capers or an onion and mayonnaise.

Just in case you were hoping from the title that there might be a recipe for sardines au gratin, here it is:

Sardines au gratin
for 4 persons

  • 1 tin sardines in oil, reserving oil
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 oz breadcrumbs
  • 1 oz margarine
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley plus more to garnish
  • 1 oz grated cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. grease a pie dish and cover the bottom with half the tomatoes
  2. lay half the sardines on top
  3. sprinkle with onion, 1 oz breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper
  4. cover with the rest of the tomatoes
  5. arrange the rest of the sardines, and cover with the rest of the breadcrumbs
  6. dot with margarine and pour over the reserved oil from the can
  7. cover with a greased paper and bake in a hot oven for twenty minutes, taking paper off after ten to let the dish brown
  8. garnish with parsley

Much as I love sardines I won’t be trying this – it sounds far too greasy and oily, and the mixture of sardine oil and cheese does not appeal… just imagine the smell cooking this in a hot oven!!, Sorry, but no thanks for me!

My featured image by the way – a little indistinct is grilled sardines with a small salad and garlic bread.

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