Recipe

Sardinellas on toast with winter tomato and fennel salad

by Ed Smith

A little lunch or light supper for one that’s both basic and a treat

There’s no idea, method or technique here that you’ve not seen before in this simple lunch or light supper for one. However (and crucially) the Borough Market ingredients it features are all of exceptional quality and add up to more than the sum of their parts: the in-season winter tomatoes and fennel provide sharp bursts of flavour, the ‘sardinellas’ (little tinned sardines) and moscatel vinegar via Brindisa are respectively pleasingly mild and bouncy, and unusually fragrant, while the house sourdough, baked on-site at Flor, is wholesome and moreish.

For more solo dining inspiration, read Ed’s latest blog

Ingredients

1 marinda tomato 
Flaky sea salt
½ small fennel bulb
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp moscatel vinegar
1 slice of sourdough, toasted 
1 small garlic clove, peeled and halved (optional)
1 tin sardinellas (or other tinned sardines in oil)

Method

Prep the tomato and fennel salad before putting your bread on to toast. Ensure the tomato is at room temperature. Cut into very fine slices—just a couple of millimetres thick if you can. Lay these on a plate and season generously with salt. Slice the fennel even thinner (with a mandolin if you have one), add to the tomatoes, plus a little more salt. Leave for 15-30 mins to macerate, then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and the vinegar.

Put your bread on to toast—nice and brown and crusty please. Rub the surface of the toast with the cut face of garlic. Transfer the sardines to the toast and eat immediately. Keep your piquant winter salad close by so you can alternate mouthfuls of savoury sardines on toast with sharp and fruity slices of winter tomatoes and fennel.

WASTE NOT

Fennel: I find fennel lasts well in the fridge, even if cut. Use the rest in another shaved fennel salad (again, just a little salt and moscatel vinegar or lemon juice), which goes incredibly well with any cooked fish, lamb or chicken; dice some up and include with onion and celery as a base for risotto, or a pork mince and fennel seed ragu; or roast or fry some thick slices of fennel in the same pan with a sausage or two as a basic weeknight dinner.

Flor sourdough loaf: a loaf of sourdough is ideal as fresh / warmed bread for at least a day and a half (during which it’s very tempting to wolf down all of it); the next two days or so it’ll make excellent toast or toasties and then the next two days or more will have you well set for a panzanella, garlicky croutons fried or roasted in olive oil, or blitzed for breadcrumbs (which could be stored in the freezer).

Peeled garlic: just because half a clove has been rubbed on toast doesn’t make the clove redundant. Fine in the fridge for at least two days more—maybe use in the aforementioned ragu, risotto, croutons or panzanella.

Recipe and image: Ed Smith