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My Best-selling Dish – Cornish sardines on toast with garlic butter, by David Gingell

19 July 2012
My Best-selling Dish – Cornish sardines on toast with garlic butter, by David Gingell

What is it?Starter
Price £9
GP 69%, depending on the fish market at the time
Orders 20%

David Gingell
David Gingell
I came up with this from the starting point of the classic dish of sardines with brown bread and butter. We source the sardines fresh from St Ives, on the other side of Cornwall, from our oyster farm and restaurant.

I make an intense garlic butter with parsley, garlic, and Pernod, butterfly the sardines and grill them, then place the fish on toasted sourdough slices. The sardines are covered generously with the garlic butter to serve.

This dish is all about showing off the freshest Cornish fish to the best of its advantage, and so it encapsulates the Wright Brothers philosophy. We have it on the menu around five days out of seven as it is entirely dependent on availability. The best season for sardines is September to April, but they are fished all year round.
David Gingell, executive group chef, Wright Brothers

Ingredients
(Serves two)
2 cloves of garlic, puréed or crushed
½ bunch of parsley
100g softened butter
10ml Pernod
4 to 6 sardines, butterflied, depending on size
Olive oil, salt and pepper
2 slices of sourdough bread

Method
Make the garlic butter in advance: pick, wash and blanch the parsley, then blend in a liquidiser. Mix with soft butter, garlic and Pernod, then season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Grill the sardines until cooked, and chargrill the sourdough bread with a sprinkling of rock salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Melt the garlic butter. Spoon some garlic butter on the chargrilled bread, then add the sardines, then more garlic butter. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and some more rock salt.

Sardines on toast
Sardines on toast

Recommended wine

This very Mediterranean dish suits Vermentino, one of the grapes of the moment. Look for a ripe and spicy style, and one that has kept a good level of acidity. Good areas for this style are Sardinia, sometimes Tuscany, Corsica or even Provence, where it is also known as Rolle.
Xavier Rousset is co-owner of Texture and 28°-50°, in London

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