Gino's Italian Express

Grilled sardines with tomato and basil salad

If you're looking for a light option for dinner, this might just be the answer; sardines basted in a tasty chilli and garlic marinade and a fresh salad.

Serves 4


8 whole sardines (about 60g each), scaled and gutted4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced1 tablespoon capers, drained1⁄2 teaspoon chilli powder1 teaspoon fennel seeds1 large unwaxed lemon, plus 4 lemon wedges to serve2 tablespoons chopped fresh at-leaf parsley Salt

For the salad

20 red baby plum tomatoes, halved 20 yellow baby plum tomatoes, halved 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced20 fresh basil leaves6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • Place the sardines in a non- metallic rectangular dish and make the marinade. Put the oil, garlic, capers, chilli powder and fennel seeds in the dish with the sardines. Season with salt. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon. Roughly tear the spent shells and add the pieces to the marinade. Carefully toss the sardines in the marinade, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, make the salad. Put the tomatoes in a medium bowl. Add the garlic and tear over the basil leaves. Season with salt and drizzle over the oil. Gently stir to coat the tomatoes in the oil and set aside.

  • About 10 minutes before cooking, remove the sardines from the fridge. Place a ridged chargrill pan over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes.

  • When the pan is very hot, carefully lift the sardines out of the marinade and place them in the pan. Add the lemon shells from the marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Cook for 3 minutes then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  • To serve, put 2 sardines on each plate and sprinkle over the parsley. Put the tomato salad alongside and garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon and a piece of the chargrilled shell.

The recipes are all taken from Gino's new book - click here for more information.

Gino's Italian Express