Sardines with mint anchovy and chilli

Serves 4

This makes a delicious and easy starter that can be made in minutes. Serve it simply with good bread and unsalted butter.

For the dressing

2 good-quality anchovy fillets
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped very finely
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only, chopped finely
80ml/3fl oz olive oil

For the fish

8 very fresh sardines (ask your fishmonger to fillet them for you)
Sea salt

For the dressing, chop the anchovies finely and place in a bowl, add the chilli and mint and pour in the olive oil. Stir well to combine and set aside while you cook the sardines.

The pan will need no oil, as the sardines will give off enough as they cook. Season well with salt, skin-side only, and place a medium-sized non- stick pan over a medium heat.

Once the pan is hot, add the sardines, ensuring you place them well apart, skin-side down. Cook without turning for two to three minutes. When done, the skin should be crisp and the flesh will have lost its translucence.

Serve immediately on a warmed plate, then spoon over the dressing.

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