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Fish of the month recipe for Sardine, European pilchard, sardines

Grilled sardines with gremolata

Grilled sardines with gremolata

Pilchards was their old name, but they are now more commonly known as the Cornish sardine, and stocks are very healthy.  I remember them in cans when I was a kid, in a tomato sauce.  Mum would give them to us for lunch in sandwiches, I think she mixed them with a dressing and I remember rather liking them.  But these days the Cornish sardine is regarded as a more sophisticated lunch.  Served as they are here they are light and aromatic.

Ingredients

2 sardines per portion (or 3 for a main)
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
For the Gremolata: 100g flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
1 clove garlic
2 lemons, cut in half, to serve

Serves 4

Preparation

To make the gremolata, finely chop the parsley, placing in a mixing bowl and then grate the lemon on the finer side of a grater.  Make sure you don’t use any of the (white) pith of the lemon, only the rind.  Finely chop the garlic.  Mix well together.

Cooking

Season the sardines and drizzle with olive oil.  Place on a really hot grill or in a frying pan.  Put the lemon on the grill as well, to mark.  Cook the fish for roughly 4 minutes on each side until the flesh is cooked through.  Serve with the gremolata and grilled lemon, and drizzle with olive oil.

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Geetie Singh

Geetie Singh

Geetie grew up on a commune in the Midlands, where she was taught from an early age to be aware of the impact we each make on the world around us. She moved to London in the early 1990s and started working in restaurants, but became deeply disillusioned with the lack of sustainability. She quickly decided there was a market for a restaurant that cared about its impact on the environment as well as serving fantastic food and drink. It took a few years to make a plan, find the money and the right venue, but in 1998 she opened The Duke of Cambridge – the UK’s first organic gastropub. 15 years in, The Duke has been an outstanding success, having won and been nominated for many awards. Geetie herself has won a few awards too along the way, including an MBE in 2009, for “Services to the Organic Pub Trade”. She is an active campaigner and firmly believes businesses must act responsibly and be led by their values. On this, Geetie has said: “Am I an environmentalist or a restaurateur? Well I don’t think you can do what I do without being bloody good at your job, but I would say both are equally important to me. Food is my love – but food at any cost? Not on your life! ”

My connection with seafood

As a restaurateur, it’s only natural for me to have a keen interest in all the raw goods that come into our kitchen - including the fish!

Why sustainability is important to me

Growing up on a commune in Herefordshire, I was surrounded by people that cared deeply about the environment.  I learned about organic farming, cooking with the seasons, and the simple pleasures of eating really great, fresh food.

Later in life, I came to London and started working in restaurants, and loved it. But I was astounded at how the industry as a whole seemed to be lacking in any concept of provenance or ethic.

When I finally hatched my plan to open my own gastropub, I wanted it to be ethical, sustainable, traceable and values driven.  I think we’ve done an amazing job so far in fulfilling that vision.  We are still the only certified organic pub in the UK and ours was the first restaurant fish policy to gain MCS approval back in 2001.

Of course, it’d be great if more restaurants, pubs, shops, and supermarkets did more to help maintain our fisheries, but I think the last few years have seen some really positive steps being made.  And I’m really proud to be involved in that process!

http://www.dukeorganic.co.uk

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