In Australia, sardines became a staple in our household as we used the BBQ more often than the oven. Really easy to gut yourself or just ask your fishmonger. Use a griddle pan if too cold or wet for a BBQ and leave to char to promote the smoky flavour. Sardines are relatively cheap and perfect alongside this sweet chutney, mackerel or herrings also work well. The chutney makes enough for 4 people, any leftover is fabulous served with cheese.
Tip – These go well with feta, which you could crumble over or serve alongside in a salad.
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan before adding 4 finely sliced red onions. Sweat over a medium heat until softened before adding 50g brown sugar, 2cm piece of ginger finely chopped and 1 tsp smoked paprika. Blanch 600g vine-ripened tomatoes in boiling water and refresh in cold before removing the skins, chopping and adding to the pan with 2 star anise and 50ml red wine vinegar. Season and simmer your sauce on a low heat for 30 minutes (or until thickened to a sticky chutney). Meanwhile, prepare your marinade by mixing together 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp oil and 1 tsp sugar. Score 12 gutted sardines with a sharp knife and smother in the marinade. When your griddle pan is very hot, cook your sardines for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Serve immediately with the chutney.