This dish combines the lovely contrasting flavours of sweet and sour / Lisa Barber
Serves 4

The essence of this dish is very southern Italian, hailing primarily from Sicily. It combines the lovely contrasting flavours of sweet and sour – and the sardines give it an undeniable taste of the sea. Bucatini, the thick hollow spaghetti, is traditional, but any long pasta will work.

3 tbsp olive oil
4 very fresh sardines. Ask your fishmonger to fillet them for you
Salt and pepper
1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
50g/2oz sultanas
50g/2oz pine nuts, warmed gently in the oven for a couple of minutes
A few drops of lemon juice
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped

Place a large pot of water on to boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. While the pasta is cooking, place a non-stick pan on the stove and add half the olive oil.

Season the sardines with salt and pepper and, when the oil is hot, lay the sardines in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for two minutes without turning – the skin should be golden and crisp. Add the chilli, garlic, pine nuts and sultanas and cook for a further minute, then add the parsley, the rest of the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Taste and add a little more salt if necessary – it will not need any pepper due to the chilli. Serve when still piping hot, tossed through the cooked pasta.

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