Behold the humble sardine, one of the staples in my store cupboard for a quick lunch or light snack. I love sourdough for this recipe, although a nice brown or wholemeal bread will work nicely.

Serves 2:
3 sardines or pilchards
400g tinned tomatoes
1 onion, cut into rings
Salt and pepper
Fat clove of garlic
3 slices sourdough bread, to serve
2 tbsp oil – use the oil from the tin of sardines, drained and reserved
Fistful of parsley

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Using a sharp knife, cut the sardine in half along the belly and back, and remove the large bone from the middle with the point of your knife (some tinned varieties will have no bones).

Drain the tomatoes, mix with the onion and season with salt and pepper.

Halve your garlic clove and rub it on each slice of sourdough bread, then mince and add it to the onion and tomato mix.

Add the oil, and pour the sauce into a small roasting tin.

Place the sardines on top, roast for 15 minutes, and toast the sourdough.

Remove the sardines from the oven, toss with the parsley and serve on the sourdough toasts.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

First published in The Guardian, May 2014. Photography by Graeme Robertson for The Guardian.


  1. Really, why remove the spine? I’ve been taught to eat the bones, as the calcium is beneficial. It took years to overcome a reluctance to crunch down…I do hope I wasn’t lead on!

  2. I love sardines and always have a can or two in my pantry. I will have to try this soon. One of my ready meals is a recipe I found on Chow.com called Fisherman’s Eggs. I totally suggest it. It makes a great anytime meal.

  3. I eat sardines bones and all as I’m dairy intolerant and they make a good calcium boost. My GP suggested it years ago as a way of beefing up my non-dairy calcium intake. They are also nice mixed with a few chopped capers if you have a jar open.

  4. I was always taught to eat the bones too. I buy the ones in tomato sauce and mush them all up with a fork before spreading on toast.

  5. Nice idea Jack! Just back from a 2 month travel trip in Southern Africa, mainly camping, I can only say that canned fish like sardines,pilchard and tuna were of great importance to quickly make a healthy lunch or diner. I am used to eat the bones as well,however I know people who don’t . Added to some cooked vegetables or even fresh ones canned fish makes a great meal that can be taken on a picnic or eaten on your garden. I suggest having some yogurth or fruit afterwards to get the strong tastes and scents away from your month.

  6. Delicious! It’s basically a sardine bruschetta. I prepared my toast with butter and a little rosemary and then toasted it on the stove. I will def do this again

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