RECIPE PROVIDED BY JACOB KENEDY, CHEF AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF VICO, BOCCA DI LUPO & GELUPO

Ingredients

Serves 8 as a starter
scaled fillets of sardines 750g, or 16 whole sardines, about 1.5kg, scaled, gutted and butterfly-filleted
fine sea salt 10g
black pepper ½ tsp
red onion 1 small (200g), sliced very very thinly across the grain in half-moons
fresh oregano leaves 1 tbsp
crushed dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
red wine vinegar 200ml
water 200ml
extra virgin olive oil 100ml

Check the sardines are completely scaled and nicely filleted. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper; leave to infuse for a little while in the fridge – about an hour, give or take. Transfer them to a plastic container, layering them with onion, oregano and chilli.

Mix together the vinegar and water and pour it over the sardines. Agitate a little with your fingers to make sure the pickle gets between the fillets. Leave in the fridge for 4 hours (for a light pickle – longer if you like).

Drain the sardines and arrange them flat on a serving dish, silver skins up. Scatter the pickled onions over the fish and drizzle with the oil.

Though you can eat them straight away (best with toast), the drained, oiled sardines improve if refrigerated overnight. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.