Sar­dines with fen­nel and sweet potato

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Look out for fresh sar­dines at your lo­cal fish­mon­ger or buy them frozen at your deli. The cook­ing time for these small sil­ver fish will de­pend on their size – they make a de­li­cious starter.

Serves 6 Prepa­ra­tion time: 20 min­utes Cook­ing time: 20 min­utes

• 2 gar­lic cloves • 1 red chilli • 60ml flat-leaf pars­ley • 3 spring onions • about 120ml but­ter, soft­ened • 1 large fen­nel bulb • 1kg small sar­dines, but­ter­flied • fresh lemon juice • about 125ml toasted bread­crumbs • 60ml pine nuts, toasted

1 Chop the gar­lic, chilli, herbs and spring onions very finely and mix with the but­ter. Cut the fen­nel into paper-thin slices with a very sharp knife or man­dolin.

2 Melt half the flavoured but­ter in a pan and fry the sar­dines in batches un­til cooked; it takes less than a minute if the fish are small. Spoon onto a serv­ing plat­ter and then fry the fen­nel in the rest of the but­ter un­til it softens (about 5 min­utes). Place with the fish. Sprin­kle with salt and pep­per and sea­son well with fresh lemon juice, a few fen­nel fronds, the bread­crumbs and toasted pine nuts. Serve im­me­di­ately with sweet potato wedges or spaghetti.

Sweet pota­toes coated in lemon juice, honey and but­ter are ir­re­sistible! We scrubbed 700g small sweet pota­toes and halved them. To that we added a knob of but­ter and a splash of olive oil, about 30ml honey, salt and pep­per and a large lemon, sliced. Bake in a hot oven at 200°C un­til the sweet pota­toes are golden brown and soft with a syrupy tart sauce.

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