Sweet & Sour Sardines – “Sarde in saor”

I always gets culinary inspired by meals and dishes experienced on my holidays. I love making a note of flavour combinations that bowl me over or send me delirious-happy-crazy. My recent trip to Venice was no exception and one of my most memorable dishes was a delicate antipasti starter – Sweet and sour Sardines – “Sarde in Saor”. A recipe that goes back as far as the 1500s apparently. I researched on how to throw this classic Venetian dish together and below is my TTI version. It’s a a delicious dish that can be eaten as soon as it’s been made but it’s advisable to let it rest overnight for a maximum flavour sensation!


  • 200g Sardines, cleaned and filleted
  • 40g Plain flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oive oil
  • 2 white onions, finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • 50g raisins, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 120ml white wine vinegar
  • 120ml white wine


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  1. First, prepare the sardines. On a dinner plate, season the flour with salt and pepper. Coat the filleted sardines with flour.
  2. In a frying pan, shallow fry the sardines in olive oil.
  3. When browned on both sides, remove and place on kitchen towel to soak up the oil. Leave to one side
  4. Next prepare the onions.  In a deep frying pan, drizzle olive oil, add the finely sliced onions and a bay leaf. Cook the onions on a low heat for at least 20 minutes until they soften.  Don’t allow them to brown.
  5. Then, add the white wine vinegar, turn up the heat slightly and cook for 5-10 minutes. Then do exactly the same with the white wine.
  6. Add the soaked raisins and toasted pine nuts to the onions and finally cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. In a dish, layer the onions and the sardines and allow to sit in the fridge over night to allow the flavours to intensify.
  8. Serve with toasted bread or grilled polenta

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