Recipe: Sardines with Campari, peach and fennel

This zingy Venetian-inspired dish will transport you to Italy’s sun-drenched coastline in one bite. It also gives the Eighties classic drink Campari a new lease of life. Make your own rustic croutons by toasting a piece of sourdough and ripping it into small pieces, then enjoy.

Kcal: 356 per serving

Fat: 24.9g per serving

Saturated fat: 3.7g per serving

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 6 sardines or 2 mackerel fillets
  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted
  • 2 tbsps Campari
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp peppercorn-sized breadcrumbs
  • 1 handful rustic croutons
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into thin strips, fennel tops reserved
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 handful black olives, pitted


Step 1: If using sardines, butterfly them: remove the heads, trim the fins and slit the fish open from the belly down to the tail. Open the fish like a book and place them, skin-side up, on a board. Press down with your hand along the backbone to flatten. Turn the fish over and pull out the backbone, cutting off the tail. Finally, pick out any obvious bones left behind.

Step 2: Finely grate one of the peaches into a bowl and add the Campari. Set half of this mixture aside in another bowl. Marinate the fish in the other half of the mixture for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Heat a frying pan over a high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil, the salt and a layer of breadcrumbs. This will help prevent the flesh of the fish sticking. Add the fish and cook for four minutes on one side, until the flesh is opaque. Flip and cook for two minutes on the other side. Add the croutons to the pan to toast them further.

Step 4: Slice the remaining peach into slivers. Mix these with the fennel strips, croutons, mint leaves and black pepper. Whisk the reserved peach-Campari mixture with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle over the fennel salad. Toss to coat. Serve the fish fillets on top of the salad. Garnish with fennel tops and black olives.

From A Suitcase And A Spatula by Tori Haschka (£18.99, Ryland Peters & Small)

Eat with…

Wine expert Jane Parkinson recommends the perfect pairing

Prosecco Corte Alta NV, £7.99,

Why not use any leftover Campari to make a spritz? Throw three or four ice cubes into a large wine glass, add two parts Campari to one part sparkling water and three parts prosecco. Garnish with a thick wedge of orange. Zesty, tangy and refreshing, it will give the sardines an added zing.