Confit sardines with piperade and chives
Confiting sardines keeps the fish succulent and moist. Perfect on toasted ciabatta with smoky piperade.
You will need a food thermometer for this recipe.
For the confit sardines
For the piperade
To make the confit sardines, find a saucepan that the sardines will fit snugly in. Put the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and lemon zest into the pan then pour over the oil. Gently heat the oil to 95–99C. Rub the sardines with a little salt then carefully lower into the pan. Top up with a little more oil if the sardines are not fully submerged. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled, cover the pan and chill in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the sardines from the oil and break into bite-sized chunks.
To make the piperade, heat a heavy-based frying pan until hot. Add the olive oil and stir in the onions. Fry for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and beginning to colour. Tip in the garlic, peppers, tomatoes and paprika. Season with salt and pepper then stir and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have just softened. Spread the mixture onto a wide plate and leave to cool slightly. Transfer to a chopping board and roughly chop the vegetables further. Put into a bowl, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, heat a griddle pan until hot. Rub the ciabatta slices with the garlic. Brush over a little extra virgin olive oil and griddle for 1–2 minutes on each side until lightly toasted. Place each ciabatta slice on a plate. Spoon a generous layer of piperade over each, then scatter over the flaked confit sardines. Sprinkle over the chives and a little pinch of salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the lime wedges and coriander cress.