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It may seem a little offbeat to bring the word “gourmet” to a dish where the star is from a can, but if you love sardines, you know this makes sense. Also, can we just go ahead and scratch “canned” off of the list of bad words along with “frozen”? Not all that is canned or frozen is of lesser quality.

Last week I revealed that I’ve excitedly jumped into a partnership with King Oscar — and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Working with reputable seafood companies who promote quality products and sustainability was my main goal for 2017, and I’ve hit the jackpot twice now. (Another announcement soon, y’all!)

Fellow sardine lovers, consider this fab little lunch option/appetizer a little taste of what’s to come.

Did you make this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
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Gourmet Lemon Pepper Sardine Toasts With Ricotta

These gourmet toasts make for a perfect lunch option or appetizer. Get a solid dose of nutrition (including Omega-3s!) without worrying about sustainability or mercury content.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
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  • 2 slices of your fave fresh bread, lightly toasted
  • 2 heaping TBSP ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz canned sardines, preferably marinated in extra virgin olive oil with cracked black pepper, If not already marinated in cracked black pepper, you can add it yourself
  • Juice of half a lemon

Optional extras

  • Squash Blossoms
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Microgreens
  • Thinly sliced radishes


  • Spread 1 TBSP of ricotta on each slice of toasty bread (more if desired, go nuts).
  • Evenly disperse the fillets of sardines between the toasts, laying them over the ricotta.
  • If your sardines weren't already marinating in a cracked black pepper marinade, crack a generous amount of black pepper over the toasts. 
  • Garnish with optional seasonal garnishes, like squash blossoms, sugar snap peas, and/or microgreens.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the toasts.
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Gourmet Lemon Pepper Sardine Toasts | Killing Thyme

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  1. I have a strong psychological block when it comes to eating fish with the bones still in, I don’t like feeling the bones in between my teeth. I’m a seafood novice but lately I’ve been craving fish!!! My mom used to love sardines and oysters from a can. 

    Tonight I just googled “anchovy lemon appetizer” and this is the recipe that popped up. I think I’m gonna try it. The flavors sound amazing, it’s just the fish bones that give me grief. I’m scared, but I want to start enjoying more seafood, I think it will open up a whole world of new flavors. 

    1. Hi Kels! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m pretty passionate (and nerdy) when it comes to introducing people to eating/cooking fish, especially novices! So good news: I’ve never ever felt the bones in sardines. Some come boneless, but even the ones that don’t, I’d never know they were in there. Unlike canned salmon with bones, which are gritty and noticeable and I avoid those like the plague (even though nutritious; I just can’t). It’s also worth noting that brands matter when it comes to canned fish! I’d suggest King Oscar for sardines above all. I was lucky enough to work with King Oscar on recipe development for five years and can say they’re products are top notche. Absolutely delicious! Please feel free to pop back with any questions. I have a huge array of sardine and seafood recipes here. Keep me posted :)

  2. I hit the jackpot with this recipe! I am a huge fan of sardines, being from Spain, it is a staple item for us, and we also love them out of a tin. I will be trying this recipe for sure. Thank you!

    1. Hey Albert! I’m so happy you’re digging this recipe! Sardines are one of the most underrated fish out there, so I’ll be happy to bring more sardine recipes to the blog in the near future and hopefully turn those whom are curious into total sardine nuts! :)
      Definitely let me know how you like this recipe! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for taking the time to comment <3