Marinated Sardine Crostini with Salsa Verde and Fennel
These little sandwiches have a big range of flavors, from the salty sardines to to the tangy flavors of tarragon and chive salsa verde. Maxime Lattoni

Chef Tony Mantuano, of Chicago’s Spiaggia, combines the tangy flavors of tarragon and chive salsa verde with a zesty lemon and fennel salad in this marinated sardine crostini.

Yield: serves 8


For the Salsa Verde

  • 12 cup minced fresh tarragon
  • 12 cup minced fresh chives
  • 13 cup minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and chopped
  • 12 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 13 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 12 tbsp. capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped

For the Sardines and Serving

  • 4 fresh sardines, deboned and filleted
  • 12 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 12 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed
  • Juice of a 1/4 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 (1″-thick) slices ciabatta bread, halved


  1. For the salsa verde: In a medium bowl, combine the tarragon, chives, parsley, egg, mustard, olive oil, and capers. Stir to mix thoroughly and let stand for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week.
  2. For the sardines: Lightly salt the sardines and let stand for 10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, and vinegar. Put the sardines in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over. Marinate for 30 minutes. Remove sardines from the marinade and lightly pat dry. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. For the fennel salad: Using a mandolin, thinly shave the fennel into a medium bowl. Dress with lemon juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. For the crostini: Lay out the slices of ciabatta on a cookie sheet. Toast under the broiler until brown, about 1 minute. Flip the slices over and repeat. Remove from the oven. Alternatively, you can grill the bread over an open flame.
  5. To assemble: Spread a teaspoon of salsa verde onto each crostini. Top with a sardine fillet and some shaved fennel salad. Serve immediately.