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They might not be the most office-friendly lunch, but sardines are big on flavour, affordable and easy to prepare. Here are our favourite ways to serve them.

  • 1. Fried sardines

    Place a saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add drained white beans, along with chicken stock, crushed garlic and rosemary. Simmer until the beans are tender. Place the beans in a bowl, along with red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh chilli, lemon juice and salad onions, and set aside. Fry sardines, a few at a time, until the flesh of the fish is firm and the skin crisp. Once you’ve finished frying the fish, add crushed garlic to the hot pan. Fry until just golden and fragrant, then toss through the beans and serve with sardines.

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  • 4. Creamy beans and sardines

    Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium to low heat and fry leeks, garlic and chilli for 2–3 minutes. Add cream and reduce for 10 minutes, then season to taste. Fold through canned cannellini beans and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Top with the sardines and serve.

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  • 3. Posh sardines on toast

    Heat olive oil in a pan and fry capers until crisp, then drain on kitchen paper. Spread cream cheese on toast, top with a sardine fillet and sprinkle with the capers and chopped parsley. Squeeze lemon juice over the toast just before serving.

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  • 2. Grilled sardines

    Season sardines with salt and moisten with a little olive oil. Halve green peppers lengthways and remove the seeds. Place the peppers cut-side down under a hot grill for about 15 minutes, until starting to char. Remove and wrap in a paper bag. Arrange the sardines on a grill pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until crisp and golden. Season with black pepper. Skin the peppers and dress with a spoonful of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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  • 5. Mediterranean broth

    Blanch Roma tomatoes in boiling water. Peel and cut into halves. Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan and sauté onion and garlic. Add shaved fennel, tomato, bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil. Wrap each sardine in a slice of Serrano ham and place in the broth. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add pitted black olives and season with the fish sauce, salt and pepper.

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  • 6. Crispy sardines

    Preheat sunflower oil in a large pan. Lightly roll the sardines in rice flour and fry on both sides until cooked. Remove and drain on paper towel. Mix salt with zest from a lemon and a lime. Serve sardines warm, sprinkled with lemon- & lime-flavoured salt.

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  • 7. Paté

    In a food processor, combine two cans of sardines, cottage cheese, double cream yoghurt and the juice of half a lemon. Blend until just smooth; serve on bread or crackers.

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