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Sardines Veracruz with Roasted Tomato Confit and Olive Tapenade

Gentl & Hyers

Yield: Yields 2-1⁄4 cups olive tapenade

Servings: 4

If you’ve not tried them, fresh sardines are wonderful, a completely different animal than canned. This particular preparation of briny sardines shows them in their best light.

This recipe is excerpted from The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook.

If you have the opportunity, purchase sardines directly from a fishing boat. To clean them, use a medium-stiff bristle brush to gently scrape away the scales under cold running water. To gut the sardines, make a small incision along the belly and use the tips of your finger to pull out the entrails. Rinse again under gently running cold water and pat dry.


For the olive tapenade

  • 1 cup finely chopped green olives
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives
  • 3 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

For the tomato confit

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 ripe plum tomatoes (about 2 lbs.), halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

For the sardines

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 12 fresh sardines, cleaned
  • Sea salt, preferably smoked
  • 1 cup frisée, yellow center leaves only
  • 2 red radishes, thinly shaved


To make the roasted tomato confit

  • Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread about 2 Tbs. of olive oil evenly over the pan. Sprinkle the oil with salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds. Lay the tomato halves on the baking sheet, cut side up, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and scatter the garlic and thyme leaves over the tomatoes. Roast for about 1 hour, turning the tomatoes over halfway through the cooking time. When the skin blisters and the tomatoes are very tender but continue to hold their shape, remove the pan from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature on the pan. Peel off the skin and store the tomatoes in whatever oil remains in the pan. Add more oil to cover if you plan to keep them in the refrigerator for more than 2 days.

To make the olive tapenade

  • Combine all of the ingredients and set aside.

To make the sardines

  • Combine the olive oil, parsley leaves, and garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Use the mixture to coat the sardines, sprinkle with smoked sea salt, and set aside until the grill is hot.
  • Heat the grill to high and cook the sardines for 2 minutes per side, or until their eyes turn cloudy. Put 3 sardines each on four plates and top with a piece of tomato confit. Toss the frisée with the radishes and 1 Tbs. of tapenade and place a small amount of salad on top of the tomato confit. Drizzle the remaining tapenade around the plates.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • User avater
    Maya_B | 09/27/2014

    Love this recipe! I simplified the tomatoes confit by just grilling them in the oven without much ado, and it still turned out great. Did it the proper way and it was even better.

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