Griddled Tangy Sardines

Griddled Sardines, with Balsamic Gooseberry Compote

  1. To make the compote, put the gooseberries and sugar in a pan along with a splash of water. Heat until they jam down a little, mashing them with a fork as you go. Taste a little; it should be sharp but not achingly so. Adjust sugar as you feel necessary. When the mixture is looking jam-like, splash in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and stir through to fully combine. Simmer until thickened slightly more. Take off the heat and leave to cool while you prepare the fish.
  2. To grill the sardines, heat a BBQ, grill, or a cast iron griddle pan over a high heat. Mix together the lemon zest, oil and chilli flakes if using. Score the fish lightly all over and brush the oil mix all over, not forgetting the inside. Sprinkle sea salt generously all over and grill or griddle on high for 3-4 minutes per side, getting some lovely charring all over the skins.
  3. To plate, lay the sardines on top of the salad leaves, spoon the compote next to them, and squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and a grinding of black pepper. Crusty bread mops up any delicious oily juices perfectly.
  4. A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a lovely pairing for this dish.

Author The Cornish Fishmonger



  • Author: The Cornish Fishmonger
  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Serves: 2


  • 8 Sardines
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • Flaky sea salt
  • A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • Gooseberry balsamic compote:
  • 350g of gooseberries topped and tailed
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • To serve:
  • Lemon wedges
  • Green salad
  • Crusty bread