Sardines baked in vine leaves

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Vine leaves make a great natural wrapping for cooking fish in. What's more, unlike a traditional paper en papillotte dish, you can actually eat them. The best kind of vine leaves, if you can't find fresh or your outside vine, like mine, hasn't got going yet, are vacuum-packed in brine. They just need a good wash and drying with kitchen paper.

Sardines or fresh pilchards are good to cook like this or you could do the same with other small oily fish like mackerel.

8 sardines or pilchards
8 vine leaves, washed and dried
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the dressing

6 tomatoes, halved and seeds squeezed out
4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 spring onions, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Season the sardines and wrap a vine leaf around each one and place on a baking tray. Lightly brush the vine leaves with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the tomatoes as finely as you can with a sharp knife then mix with the olive oil, spring onion and coriander and season to taste. Either serve the sardine parcels with the dressing in a bowl for people to spoon over, or put the fish and dressing on a large plate and offer as part of a summery mezze.

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