Recipe: Sardine Bocadillos from Eat at the Bar »

By Matt McConnell

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Sardine Bocadilo, Eat at the Bar

Sardine Bocadilo, Eat at the Bar [©Matt McConnell]

Sardine Eatery and Bar, Paynesville
<i>Eat at the Bar</i> by Matt McConnell & Jo Gamvros


A great summer recipe from Eat at the Bar by Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros.

 Matt and Jo write:

This recipe was developed when the whole slider phase took over. We’ve always been fans of the fish sandwich that you find all through the Mediterranean, and we thought it would be a really good fit at Bar Lourinhã. We get beautiful fresh sardines from Lake's Entrance in Victoria’s north-east.

Sardine Bocadillos

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 8 sardine fillets
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 mini hot dog or brioche buns
  • 4 tablespoons Lemon Aioli (below)
  • 8 sorrel leaves
  • 8 guindilla chillies, each cut into three pieces
  • 10 g (¼ oz/ 1/3 cup) flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed, to serve
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli Salt (below) to serve



Season the sardines with black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the sardines, skin side down, for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Slice the buns in half and spread both halves with lemon aioli, then place a sorrel leaf inside each bun. Put the cooked sardine fillet on top of the sorrel, then top with the chilli and parsley leaves. To serve, season with pink peppercorns and chilli salt and cover with the top bun.

Lemon Aioli (makes 600g/1 lb 5oz) [Ed: this is quite a lot, you might like to halve it, although it will keep in the fridge]

  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 440 ml (15 fl oz) blended olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • grated zest of 2 lemons


Combine the egg yolks, mustard, garlic and some salt and pepper in a food processor and blend well.

Very slowly, add the olive oil, starting with just a drop at a time to allow the mixture to emulsify before adding the next drop. As the aioli thickens, you can slightly increase the rate of drips, being careful not to pour too quickly.

Once all the oil has been incorporated, the mixture should resemble a very thick mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice and zest, followed by 1 tablespoon hot water and mix well to make a shiny, smooth aioli. 

Check and adjust the seasoning, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Note: To make a thicker aioli, simply use less lemon juice and water at the end.

Chilli Salt

Mix together 35 g (1¼ oz/ 1/4 cup) sea salt flakes with 2 teaspoons chilli flakes and 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves and mix well.


This recipe is from Eat at the Bar by Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publishers.


Eat At The Bar by Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros is published by Hardie Grant  (Sydney, NSW; Oct 2018; Hb, 240pp, RRP A$50.00). It is available at good bookshops nationally.

It can also be purchased online via »

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January 29th, 2019
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