I adore sardines but they have to be spankingly fresh; their rich flesh lends itself to the clean Asian flavours.
8 very fresh sardines – ask your fishmonger to gut and scale them for you
A little vegetable oil for brushing
For the salad
A mixed handful of equal amounts of coriander leaves, sweet Thai basil leaves and mint leaves
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 banana shallot, peeled, finely sliced and fried in vegetable oil until really crisp
1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges
1 tbsp shredded ginger
For the dressing
4 tbsp tamarind water
4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
Start by making the dressing. Mix all the ingredients together and stir well to combine. Next, brush the fish generously with vegetable oil, but do not bother to season.
Lay the fish on your barbecue and grill for 2 minutes on one side. Turn, and grill for another minute on the other side. Remove from the barbecue and set aside.
Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and dress with two tablespoons of the dressing. Toss together lightly with your fingers. Lay half of the dressed salad on a plate and pile the sardines on top. Scatter over the remaining salad leaves and spoon over the rest of the dressing.