Pickled Sardines by Ella Mittas

Serves 6 as a side

These sardines are great as part of a summer meze spread next to lots of fresh tomatoes on toast. And they’re also great atop fava. Curing sardines in this way gives them a delicate texture. If the fish end up too soft for your liking, you can grill them slightly or flash them in a frypan.

Recipe by Ella Mittas, photography by Jessica Grilli.


500 g/17.5 ounces sardines (I buy mine already cleaned and butterflied)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp marjoram or thyme, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Flake salt for seasoning


1. Make a layer of the butterflied sardines, skin side down in a baking dish or container that’s not made of metal.

2. Mix vinegar, lemon juice and chopped herbs in a bowl.

3. Sprinkle sardines with salt, then with the lemon, vinegar and herb mix, to make sure the fish’s flesh is covered. Start to distribute garlic slices throughout the layer too.

4. Create another layer of sardines, flesh down so that each sardine is sandwiched flesh to flesh with another.

5. Repeat until you have used all the sardines, using the aromatics, vinegar and lemon throughout the layers.

6. Once finished, top with olive oil. You want the olive oil to form a film over the sardines, protecting them from air. These will be ready in a few hours and can be kept for four days. They’ll become firm once cured.

About Ella Mittas

Ella Mittas is a Greek-Australian chef and food writer who hosts cooking classes and curates and caters events in collaboration with various venues across Melbourne. She has built her career in food working under Brigitte Hafner, Annie Smithers and Ismail Tosun in Australia, honing her skills in London at NOPI, in Tel Aviv at Romano and in Istanbul at Lokanta Maya.

This recipe is from her debut book Ela! Ela! – To Turkey and Greece, Then Home which can be purchased at ellamittas.com.