Soused sardines with white cabbage and mustard

Soused sardines with white cabbage and mustard

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

This dish has its roots in Eastern Europe. My head chef, Redas Katauskas from Lithuania, made a similar dish with herring, which inspired me to come up with this one. I’ve added a West Country twist with cider vinegar and apples and a touch of nostalgia with the salad cream. This dish would also work with herrings or fresh anchovies.


Quantity Ingredient
4 large sardines, scaled, gutted, butterflied and pin-boned
or 8 small sardines, scaled, gutted, butterflied and pin-boned
light rapeseed oil, for cooking and dressing
1 white onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1/2 white cabbage, cored and finely shredded
200ml cider vinegar
100ml water
75g caster sugar
2 braeburn apples
1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
cornish sea salt

Salad cream

Quantity Ingredient
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
200ml light rapeseed oil
50ml double cream


  1. To souse the sardines, heat a non-stick frying pan and add a drizzle of rapeseed oil. When hot, add the sardines skin side down and fry for 1 minute until golden. Transfer the sardines to a dish large enough to hold them side by side submerged in the sousing liquor.
  2. Add a touch more oil to the pan and return to a medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic and cabbage and cook, without colouring, until the cabbage starts to collapse. Add the cider vinegar, water and sugar to the pan and bring to the boil. Season with salt to taste. Tip the mixture over the sardines and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. (Or, if serving the next day, allow to cool, then refrigerate.)
  3. To make the salad cream, put the egg yolks, mustard, sugar and cider vinegar in a bowl and whisk together for 1 minute. Now gradually add the oil, drop by drop to begin with, then in a steady stream, until it is all incorporated. To finish, slowly whisk in the cream and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate until required.
  4. Drain the soused vegetables of their sousing liquor and place them in a large bowl. Halve, core, peel and shred the apples, then add to the vegetables with the chopped tarragon. Dress with a little rapeseed oil and taste for seasoning.
  5. To serve, place the sardines on individual plates and add a portion of soused cabbage and onion. Finish with a good dollop of salad cream.
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