Stone-baked flatbreads with cured sardines

  • medium
  • 4
  • 3 hours 30 minutes plus 24-48 hours for the sardines to cure and the flatbread to prove
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These slow-proved red onion flatbreads are topped with homemade cured sardines. Curing is a great way to preserve fresh fish, and doesn't require any special equipment. Whole, fresh sardines are simply salted for up to two days, before being stored in an infused olive oil. They pair beautifully with preserved lemons and any leftover sardines will keep for up to three weeks, so long as they are fully submerged in the oil.

This recipe is taken from Oren: A Personal Collection of Recipes and Stories from Tel Aviv by Oded Oren (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography: Benjamin McMahon

First published in 2022

Oded says: "This dish makes a nice starter when you have guests over: it feels quite simple, but has complex flavours. When we make flatbreads at the restaurant we use a pizza oven, but I’ve given instructions for using a pizza stone in a domestic oven – you won’t get quite the same result, but it will still be delicious."

"Cured fish is a big part of the menu at Oren, and I always enjoy experimenting by pairing it with different flavours. Sardines aren’t particularly easy to fillet, but the result is so rewarding; it really is worth it. You need to allow some time for this recipe, as the fish takes 24–48 hours to cure (depending on the size). The sardines are ready to go as soon as they’re in the oil, but they’ll keep for up to 3 weeks. They’re great on their own, with a little of the infused oil drizzled over them to serve, but I also like to incorporate them in a lot of meals at my restaurant. One of my favourites is to make a Caesar salad with cured sardines instead of anchovies."





  • 250g of warm water
  • 315g of 00 flour
  • 35g of semolina flour
  • 1 pinch of cane sugar
  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus extra for finishing
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp preserved lemon, finely chopped

Cured Sardines


  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Pizza stone



To make the flatbread dough, pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flours, sugar, yeast and olive oil, and mix on low speed for 2 minutes, then add the salt. (Alternatively, mix the ingredients in a bowl and then knead by hand for about 20 minutes)

  • 250g of warm water
  • 315g of 00 flour
  • 35g of semolina flour
  • 1 pinch of cane sugar
  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Continue mixing on a slow speed for 15 minutes until the dough is elastic. It should be very soft and still a bit sticky


Transfer the dough to a large container with a lid and prove for 24–48 hours in the refrigerator. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator for up to 4 days to develop the flavour


To make the cured sardines, place the sardines in a deep tray and cover completely with the salt. Leave the sardines to cure in the refrigerator for 24–48 hours, depending on their size. For sardines of about 50g, cure for 24 hours, and for 80g plus, cure for 48 hours


The day of serving, take the dough out of the refrigerator 4–5 hours before baking. Cut the dough into four pieces


With floured hands, form the dough into balls. Place on a tray without any flour, leaving space between them, and cover with a dish towel to prove at room temperature for about 3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size


To bake the flatbreads, you can either use a stone pizza oven or a pizza stone in a domestic oven. If using a pizza oven, preheat it to 350°C. If you are using a domestic oven with a stone, preheat your oven to its maximum temperature with the stone inside for 1 hour before baking


Remove the sardines from the salt and rinse with cold running water. Cut off all the heads. Using a paring knife, cut a split of about 1 cm in the belly of each sardine and remove the insides while holding the sardine under cold running water. Put both your thumbs into the now-cleaned belly and push down until you feel the spine with your thumbs and separate it from the flesh – repeat with all the sardines. You will have butterflied the sardines


Both sides of each sardine will have two fillets, which are separated by a blood line. Remove all four fillets from each sardine and place in a container


Cover with the olive oil, add the bay leaves and allspice berries and cover. The sardines can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, just make sure the fillets are submerged in the olive oil


Using a dough scraper, place a ball of dough onto a ‘00’-floured surface. Press the dough with both hands from the centre to the edge to deflate the dough. Turn the piece of dough and repeat this process on the other side, then lift the dough and stretch it between your fingers until the dough is about 25 cm long and 10 cm wide


Scatter some onion slices and salt over the flatbread. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • sea salt to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste

Using a pizza peel or a wooden board, slide the dough into the hot oven and bake for about 2 minutes, or until the bread has risen and developed a nice golden-brown colour


Repeat the process above and bake the flatbread for 4–5 minutes or until risen and golden-brown. Repeat to bake the remaining bread


While the flatbreads are still warm, lay each flatbread with three sardine fillets and some chopped preserved lemon, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil

First published in 2022

Oded Oren is an Israeli-born chef who, having worked in a number of Tel Aviv's most renowned restaurants including the acclaimed Turkiz, moved to London and in 2018 opened his own Middle Eastern restaurant Oren.

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