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.
8 whole sardines (about 60g each), scaled and gutted
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1⁄2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 large unwaxed lemon, plus 4 lemon wedges to serve
2 tablespoons chopped fresh at-leaf parsley
For the salad
20 red baby plum tomatoes, halved
20 yellow baby plum tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
20 fresh basil leaves
6 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.