I know many people who don’t like sardines simply because they have never had them, don't like the idea of them or have been unfortunate to eat badly prepared ones. 
Many people don't know that sardines are full of flavour, economical and meaty and  make for a quick and easy meal option.

Making things more interesting for KwaZulu-Natal locals is that they have finally arrived on the coast. So, if you’re one of the people who will be on the run for sardines or one of those who will be trying out a sardine dish, here is a dish that will make you appreciate all your hard work getting the sardines. 

Lemon Parmesan Sardine Pasta (Serves 4) 

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 packet spaghetti
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained 
  • 250g sardines
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • ⅓ Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. 
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until just tender. 
  3. Drain and reserve some of the cooking liquid.
  4. Bring another skillet to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet.
  5. When the oil is hot, add in the breadcrumbs and stir frequently until golden and fragrant (3-4 minutes). 
  6. Remove to a plate.
  7. Add the last 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the chopped onion. 
  8. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir until softened.
  9. Turn the heat on the onions to medium high and add in the zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lemon, capers and sardines.
  10. Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through. (About 2 minutes)
  11. Add the drained pasta to the sardine mixture and toss well to combine.
  12. Add ½ cup chopped parsley and some of the reserved pasta cooking water (if needed) to moisten.
  13. Stir in the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
  14. Garnish individual plates with a wedge of lemon and more parsley if desired.
Recipe by Royal Palm Hotel Executive Chef, Alfons Rathje.