Sardines au Vinaigre

Sardines Marinated in Red Wine Vinegar and Spices

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

This vigorous hors d’oeuvre can also be made with fresh anchovies, herring, or smelts. It is better after two days in the refrigerator and will keep up to a week there.


  • 3 pounds fresh sardines
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut in sticks, or 3 tablespoons fennel or anise seeds
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • cup water
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • half a nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • a few sprigs of watercress or parsley


Wash the fish and discard the heads. Fillet the fish (sardines may be left whole if they are small enough) and drain on paper towels. Put the fresh fennel between every two fillets or sprinkle the fillets with fennel or anise seeds. Season with salt and pepper and place the fish in a shallow baking dish.

Put the vinegar, water, peppercorns, coriander, nutmeg, bay leaves, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, then pour while hot over the fillets and let them cool. Cover and refrigerate.

To serve, carefully lift out the fish with two spatulas onto a platter. Garnish with watercress or parsley.