Marinated sardines with black olives and chilli

Marinated sardines
An easy and delicious marinated sardines recipe that you can serve both as a starter or as a tapa and that it makes the most of this wonderful and versatile fish.

Today we are cooking with one of the most underrated fish in the oceans. One that would cost a fortune if it would be scarce… Sardines.

Yes, I am a massive fan of sardines and I cook them as often as I can. True that sometimes they can leave your home with an intense fishy fragrance after the cooking. But you need to be fair and look at the positives… Sardines have an awesome flavour, they are super versatile in the kitchen, cheap to buy and I personally find their silver loins a real thing of beauty. Plus today’s recipe uses a marinade to ‘cook’ the sardines, so we’ll be totally exempt of any ‘fishy fragrance’.

The base for today’s recipe is always the same, sardine fillets marinated in a light ‘salmuera’ (a solution of salt and water) first, then in vinegar and finally in olive oil.

The rest is up to your creativity. Today we are preparing the sardines with a mixture of red onion, black olives and gherkins. But you could equally garnish them with tomato sauce and capers, with a very chilled gazpacho or a salmorejo, with a bit of green tomato jam and some cottage cheese or even with an avocado puree. These are just some ideas but one of the best things about these marinated sardines is that they go well with so many other ingredients!

Go ahead and try these super simple recipe. And remember, you can serve these marinated sardines as a tapa or as a starter. I like to eat mine as a pre-lunch snack on a country loaf toast. Delicious!!

Marinated sardines

Marinated sardines
Serves: people as a starter Print recipe
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: -
Passive time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Very easy



  1. Use a bowl to dissolve the salt into the water and place the sardines in it for 5 minutes.
  2. Take the sardines out, pat-dry them and place them in a food container. Cover them with the vinegar and leave to marinade for 30 minutes. Finally drain them, pat-dry them and cover with olive oil.
  3. Finely chop the gherkins, the olives and the chile. Finely julienne the red onion.
  4. Place the sardine fillets in a serving plate —skin-side up— and distribute the gherkins, black olives and red onion evenly on top of the fillets.
  5. Sprinkle some very finely chopped parsley and red chile and decorate with onion sprouts. Season with salt and black pepper and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.