Sardine Toasts with California Avocado

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Serves: 8
  fresh sardines, fileted
  Fresh California Avocados**
  baguette or pain de mie loaf, cut into 8 – 1/8" thick slices
Tbsp.  olive oil, divided
Tbsp.  fresh lemon juice
  sprigs tarragon, dill, or parsley
  As needed  Salt and pepper to taste
oz.  (1 medium) red onion, thinly sliced
  Escabeche Pickling Liquid (recipe follows)
  Chili Oil (recipe follows)
    Escabeche Pickling Liquid (Yield: 3 ½ cups)
oz.  (1 medium) yellow onion, thinly sliced
cup  fresh lime juice
cup  fresh orange juice
1/4  cup  sweet white wine
tsp.  granulated sugar
Tbsp.  kosher salt
  jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded, very thinly sliced
    Chili Oil (Yield: ½ cup)
1/2  cup  vegetable oil
1 1/2  tsp.  Paprika
1/2  tsp.  smoked paprika

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados


Escabeche Pickling Liquid:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add onions and blanch for 15 seconds. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Combine lime juice, orange juice, white wine, sugar, and salt in a large non-reactive bowl, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add blanched onion slices and jalapeño and stir to combine.
  3. Submerge the sardine filets in the pickling liquid, cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.
  4. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the red onion slices and blanch for 15 seconds. Drain well and set aside.
  5. Once the sardines are taken out of the pickling liquid, add the red onion slices to the pickling liquid and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Chili Oil:

  1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan until it reaches 120°, whisking every few minutes to insure the spices don’t stick to the bottom and burn.
  2. Once it reaches 120°, remove from heat, set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes. Strain the oil through a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve. Discard the spices.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°. Brush the bread slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.


  1. Cut each avocado in half and remove the seed. Peel the skin from each half and cut half again. Cut each quarter into three slices (12 slices altogether). Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Set prepared toasts on a platter. Place three avocado slices onto each toast. Top each with one half of a pickled sardine. Pile pickled red onion onto the center of the filet and top each with an herb sprig. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with a drizzle of chili oil. Serve.

* Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

Chef Jen Biesty, Shakewell (Oakland, CA)

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