• Sardinas en escabeche (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

This easy version of escabeche pickles the sardine fillets gently in a flavoured vinegar. Food Safari Water






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (13 votes)


  • 24 fresh sardine fillets
  • 700 ml white wine vinegar


  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 500 ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar 
  • 500 ml (2 cups) fino sherry 
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the escabeche, heat half the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, onions and salt for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to soften. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bay leaves and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the saffron. Add the vinegar, sherry and 500 ml (2 cups) water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the paprika and remove from the heat. Set aside and allow to cool.

While the escabeche is cooling, place the sardine fillets in a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes. This removes a bit of the blood and firms up the flesh a little. Drain, then place in a bowl with the vinegar and stand for another 10 minutes. Remove and pat dry on a clean tea towel.

Once the escabeche is cool, add the sardines - making sure they are well coated in the sauce. Place in sterilised jars and cover with the sauce. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Belinda So.

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