Lemon and Thyme Marinated Sardines
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest of one lemon
4-5 sprigs of thyme, plus a few extra leaves to garnish
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 bay leaf
Black pepper to season
Crusty bread or flatbread to serve
Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, thyme sprigs, grated garlic and bay leaf in a small pan set over low heat. Allow the oil to infuse for 10 minutes, being careful to not let the garlic or lemon zest burn. Taste the oil at the 10 minute point, it should be bright, herbaceous, and should have a nice round garlicky flavor.
Gently remove the sardines from the tin. Place them in the infused oil, and allow to gently warm through. Baste a few spoonfuls of the oil over the sardines to maximize the flavor intake.
Arrange the sardines on a rimmed plate, being careful to keep the filets intact. Pour any remaining oil over them. Finish with a few leaves of thyme on each filet, and a small sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with crusty bread, and make sure all of the olive oily goodness gets properly sopped up.