How to cook sardines sous vide

How to cook sardines sous vide

How to cook sardines sous vide

by Great British Chefs3 November 2015

How to cook sardines sous vide

Sardines tend to conjure up images of cheap meals from tin cans however fresh sardines are a delicate, delicious fish very high in omega 3. Sardines come from the herring family and pilchards are the same species of fish, just slightly larger.

Sous vide is a very useful tool when cooking small fish such as sardines and pilchards as the low temperature ensures that the fish does not over cook and the bag locks in moisture that would be lost in traditional cooking methods. The controlled temperature and cooking period give a consistent result every time. Ask your fishmonger to butterfly the sardines for you, or alternatively read this How to butterfly sardines guide.

Preheat the water bath to 50°C
Wash the butterflied sardines and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper
Season with a little salt and rub the fish with olive oil
Place the fish in a vacuum bag, making sure that they are laid flat and seal under pressure
Place the bag in the preheated water bath to cook for 20 minutes
Remove the sardines from the bag and serve


For crispy sardines, blowtorch the skin; make sure to do this quickly so as not to overcook the fish. Alternatively you could char them briefly on a barbecue.

Try alternatives to olive oil in the bag with the sardines such as seaweed-infused butter or a spicy chorizo oil.

Serving suggestions

Sardines are most traditionally served on toast for a simple breakfast or quick snack. Adam Gray’s Sardines on toast are simple yet delicious, while Robert Thompson adds flare to his Grilled sardines by serving them on ciabatta with tomato confit, basil and tapenade.

Nathan Outlaw serves sardines with a smoky paprika mayonnaise, while Shaun Hill opts for Jersey Royals and salsa verde.

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