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Rick Stein’s sardines in tortillas with spicy tomato sauce recipe

Preparation time
Cooking time
4 as a starter

Sardines, in fact most salty foods, are fantastic with Vermentino. Pour a glass of the 2017 Box Grove from Victoria’s Goulburn Valley with its ripe nose of pear and anise and fine, mouth-watering texture and umami-like persistence – it’s the ideal drop with this delicious dish


  • 250g sardines in oil, drained
  • 250ml corn oil, for frying
  • 12 x 10cm Corn tortillas 
  • 200g Refried beans, warmed
  • 1 avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried epazote (optional) or oregano
  • ½ –1 habanero chilli, stem and seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 600ml passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 12 turns black peppermill
  • Salt, to taste


  1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat onion, garlic, epazote or oregano and chilli until very soft. Add the passata and cook for 15–20 minutes. Liquidise the sauce in a blender or food processor and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  2. Reserve one-third of the tomato sauce for finishing the dish, then put the rest back in the pan and add the sardines.
  3. Cook for about 15 minutes until the fish has broken up and combined with the tomato sauce – the sauce should be quite thick and most of the liquid evaporated.
  4. Heat the corn oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas for 1–2 minutes until crisp. Drain them on kitchen paper.
  5. Spread 8 of the tortillas with refried beans. Place one on each of 4 plates and spoon on some of the sardine ‘stew’. Top with a second bean-covered tortilla, bean-side up, then add a bit more of the sardine stew. Finish with a third tortilla, then divide the reserved tomato sauce between the tortilla stacks and garnish with a few slices of avocado. Serve at once.
Preparation time
Cooking time
4 as a starter

Wine match

Box Grove Vineyard Vermentino 2017
in any 12
in any 6
Price | options
in any 12 bottles


Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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