Sardella calabrese

Sardella calabreseSardella calabrese is a spicy paste made with sardines, ideal for spreading on any bread. If you like trying recipes from other cuisines (in this case, Calabrian) as much as we do, then don’t miss the recipe sent to us by Elena. It’s ideal for sharing, too!


  • Small sardines in olive oil – 2 tins
  • Anchovies from the Bay of Biscay – 1 tin
  • Passata – 250 g (or tomato sauce)
  • Roasted red peppers – 2, cut into pieces (*Can be from a jar, but they have to be roasted)
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tablespoons
  • Spicy paprika – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fennel – 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar – a pinch
  • Laurel – 1 leaf
  • Calabrian salt and pepper – (or a mix of five peppers)
  • Cayenne peppers – 2 (or more if you want very spicy)


Before starting to make the recipe, Elena explains that she usually always has roasted peppers at home: “I roast them in the pressure cooker, and it takes no time at all”. You can use peppers from a jar too, “as long as they are roasted.”

That said, let’s see, step by step, how to prepare sardella calabrese:

  1. Chop the garlic cloves and sauté them in virgin olive oil in a pan over a low heat.
  2. When the garlic begins to take on colour, add the peppers and season with salt and pepper (be careful with the salt, as anchovies will be added later). Let stand for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the passata (natural chopped tomato, and allowed to simmer), a pinch of sugar to remove the tomato’s acidity and a bay leaf.
  4. After another 5 minutes, add the sardines and anchovies, breaking them up with the help of a spatula, so that they are distributed equally.
  5. Mix in the spices and powdered cayenne by hand.  Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf.
  7. Make a paste by stirring everything, adding virgin olive oil. The amount of oil will depend a bit on our taste and what the sardella is for: for an appetizer or dip, 4 tablespoons of oil will suffice.

It can be served hot, warm or cold, with toast, bruschetta or even nachos.


A very tasty appetizer. Thanks, Elena!

Leave a comment

By submitting a comment you grant a perpetual license to reproduce your words, your name and your web site. Inappropriate comments will be removed at admin's discretion.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0