Sardines on toast


Lunch is usually a scrambled activity during the working week. I’m not proud of it. It is what it is. I want to make sure that I shoehorn a walk into the day while there is still light outside. Although the days are slowly lengthening, lunch is still the best time of the day for me to get out and get a fix of fresh air and some nature in one of the parks I am lucky to live close to. During lockdown, the lunchtime walk has become both a ritual and a necessity for state of mind.


Foodwise, lunch is heating up leftovers from dinner the night before, or assembling ingredients on top of a hunk of bread. Speed is a priority, but flavour can’t be compromised.


I didn’t grow up eating sardines. As a child, I remember there always seemed to be a can in the cupboard, but I don’t ever remember anyone eating them. In the UK, sardines are what you have on toast. Europe, it seems, has a more intimate relationship with the little silvery fish, slaked in oil and crammed tightly into exquisitely designed tins that I would easily buy for the packaging as much as for the oily contents. Tapas, sardines as apetisers eaten from the tin, there is a lot to explore.


I picked a couple of cans up to have as a store cupboard stand by, since I have cut my shopping trips to a minimum during lockdown, but I had no ideas in mind of what I would do with them when I put them in my shopping basket. I used one half of the tin for this store cupboard putanesca recipe. The other half of the tin I saved for an assembly of ingredients on a slab of toast for lunch today.



Simple and ready in minutes. I drizzled some of the smoky flavoured oil onto the bread before covering the bread in chopped tomatoes sprinkled with garlic and a grind of salt. Sardines draped over the tomatoes before a scattering of diced cucumber to add a shot of freshness and sundried tomatoes a sharp sour note. I think the combination works well. The arrangement on the plate, though, always needs more work.

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