I always have tins of sardines in my larder and have eaten them all my life. These sardines have been tizzied up beautifully to be a luncheon you’d be happy to serve to a discerning friend — the marriage of the beetroot with the touch of parmesan is magic. Yet in truth, nine times out of ten I would serve my tinned sardines for my own lunch on toasted rye bread with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon. And sometimes with some finely chopped red onion on top. Couldn’t live without them.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 large beetroot, about 280–300 g
- 2 teaspoons rock salt
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup (80 g) grated parmesan or pecorino
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 4 slices good-quality sourdough or rye bread
- 120 g tins best-quality sardines in olive oil, drained
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 140°C (fan-forced).
- Wrap the beetroot in foil with the salt and thyme, then roast for 1 hour or until a skewer inserts easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Unwrap the cooled beetroot and rub the skin off – it should come off easily. (You may choose to wear a pair of disposable gloves to keep your fingers from turning purple.)
- Place the beetroot, parmesan or pecorino and a dash of the olive oil in a food processor and pulse to a medium coarseness.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread slices and cook until golden and crisp on both sides. Drain on paper towel. Alternatively, just brush the bread with olive oil and cook under the grill.
- Spread the beetroot mixture over the toasted bread. Top with the sardines, chopped mint and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges.