Rosa's pickled sardines with Chilli

This recipe was given to me by Rosa Mendolia, mother of Fremantle's Jim Mendolia (of sardine fame).

  • 20 fresh sardines
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 cup high-quality red-wine vinegar
  • 2 cups (approximately) extra virgin olive oil
  • several stalks dried oregano
  • 1⁄2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 12 fresh chillies (according to taste), sliced

Wash sardines and leave them in the refrigerator for 24 hours this will make them easier to handle.

Using scissors, cut off heads diagonally just under gills and pull out the backbones. The guts will come away with the head. Place sardines in a baking dish, sprinkle generously with sea salt and leave for 2 hours. Rinse off salt, cover fish with red-wine vinegar and leave for another 2 hours, which cures the flesh and adds flavour. Drain fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel. Put some oil in a clean, sterilised storage container (preferably glass) followed by a layer of sardine fillets. Sprinkle over a little dried oregano, parsley, garlic and chilli. Add more olive oil. Continue to layer fillets and flavourings until you run out of fillets. Then cover completely with olive oil.

Keep in the refrigerator. They can be eaten within a day but are much better after a week or two, and will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. Serve on toasted or grilled bread as an appetiser.

note: To sterilise containers, wash them in hot, soapy water then place them on a baking tray in a 120C oven for 2530 minutes. This will prevent harmful bacteria from developing.

Makes 20 sardines

Stephanie Alexander's pizza bianca with herbs


  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped rosemary or basil
  • 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling bowl and tray

Pizza dough

  • 10 g fresh yeast or 5 g dry yeast
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 500 g strong plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

To make garnish, place garlic and herbs in a bowl and cover with olive oil. Set aside to infuse.

To make dough, dissolve yeast in water, leave for 10 minutes and then mix with flour, sea salt and olive oil. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead vigorously for 10 minutes. The dough should be very light and slightly sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a draught-free place to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 220C.

Divide dough into three even pieces and rest on a lightly floured surface for 15 minutes. Pat and stretch each piece into a long slipper shape and place on an oiled baking tray. The surface should be dimpled from the action of your fingers on the soft dough. Brush generously with most of the garnish and put into the oven immediately. Bake until golden about 1015 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the rest of the garnish. Scatter with a little sea salt if desired.

Pizza bianca is best served immediately, but can be reheated quickly on a hotplate or in a heavy frying pan. There is no need to add any oil to the pan.

Makes 3 pizzas