how to make gin and tonic pickled sardines

Sardines are one of the healthiest, most flavourful fish you can eat. They're great on the barbecue and they're great even from the tin. These sweet little pickled sardines, filleted, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, make an ideal last minute snack served with crusty bread. Do them ahead and serve as an entree with drinks. Orange rind and juniper berries give this pretty recipe a gin and tonic tilt, making them the perfect match for an actual gin and tonic, come to that.

This recipe is about slighting pickling the fish, and giving them a tiny ferment which makes them - surprisingly - taste a lot fresher and less fishy. Hope the video helps inspire you to make them!

gin and tonic pickled sardines

300g filleted sardines

2 tbsp salt

small bunch dill

2 tsp dried orange rind

1 tbsp juniper berries

1/2 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

water, to cover sardines

extra virgin olive oil, to serve

eschallot, finely sliced, to serve

  1. Descale the fish, remove head and tails, and clean out the insides, or have your fishmonger do this for you. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper. Rub the meat side of the fish with salt and the sprigs from 1/2 the dill, place in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge 1-2 hours.

  2. Drain moisture from fish (discard liquid). In a medium jar (about 500ml), combine orange rind, juniper berries, sugar, apple cider vinegar and water to half way up jar. Add sardines to jar and top up with water to cover fish. Use a small weight to weigh down fish if needed (fish must be completely submerged).

  3. Cover jar with cheesecloth and seal with string or a rubber band. Let sit at room temperature for 2 days, checking to see the sardines remain submerged. Cover with a lid and refrigerate 1 week before consuming, and up to 1 month.

  4. To serve, arrange on a plate, skin side down, scatter over a few juniper berries and extra sprigs of dill if liked, and the eschallots, then drizzle over extra virgin olive oil. Serve with hot toast or crusty bread.