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With a stunning seafood dish with a subtle balance of flavours and a pop of red beetroot, Maison Bleue's Pascal Canevet shares midsummer memories and his childhood summer dish

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There are happy days ahead when sun dapples through the glass doors of Maison Bleue and the air has a relaxed feel. August is a time for family, for celebrating the here and now, for coming together and sharing good food. As a chef I’m naturally in touch with the season, a whisper of scent on the evening breeze can inspire me to balance new flavours, a taste can transport me back home to childhood summer holidays.

I was born in a seaside town in North West Brittany, famous for its sardines. The coastal tide being quite violent, the firmness of the sardine’s flesh is well known to French gourmets. My summer childhood memories are filled with family barbecues, the taste of grilled sardines takes me back there to those carefree days.

My mother taught me how to prepare food with love. On the grill, sardines are so simple and delicious! Light and packed with the goodness of the season, it’s a seaside holiday on a plate.

Cornish sardines with heirloom tomatoes and beetroot (38463782)
Cornish sardines with heirloom tomatoes and beetroot (38463782)

"A taste can take you anywhere – to your favourite place, a childhood memory, a carefree summer"


Serves 4


16 butterflied sardines

1 cooked beetroot

5cl balsamic vinegar

24 scaled and butterflied sardines + tails

1 tomato

6 small Heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

100g Mascarpone

15g chopped shallots

Ready-made pastry, very fine sheets (or filo pastry)

10g chopped flat parsley

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper


Place the cooked beetroot in a food mixer and add 5cl of balsamic vinegar and blitz. Season with salt and pepper and reserve until needed.

Roll 16 butterflied sardines and secure with a cocktail stick. Refrigerate.

To make the rillettes:

Sweat the shallots for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until softened. Cut the rest of the sardines into small cubes and place into the pan with the shallots for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the mascarpone, parsley, sardines and shallots into a medium-size bowl and using a wooden spoon work it until smooth. Season to taste. Using a spatula, scoop up the mixture and place into a piping bag. Chill for at least two hours.

Cut both feuilles de brick (pastry) into 5cm by 10cm strips and brush them with salted butter. Roll the strips around stainless steel pastry tubes and place into preheated oven at 130oC until coloration. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Once cooled, remove the stainless-steel tubes and fill the pastry with the rillettes.

Place the 16 rolled butterflied sardines in the oven for two minutes in a 230C preheated oven.

Blanch, peel and seed the Heirloom tomatoes. Cut them into quarters. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Divide the sardine fillets and rillette rolls between 4 serving plates and add the Heirloom tomatoes. Drop some spots of beetroot dressing onto different areas of the plate and garnish with sliced and seasoned baby candied beetroot.

Bon appétit!


Pair with fine white wines such as a crisp sauvignon blanc from Bordeux or the Loire Valley, the citrus gooseberry notes work particularly well.

Pascal Canevet is chef-patron of award-winning Maison Bleue, an intimate fine-dining restaurant serving a modern French menu

Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

See maisonbleue.co.uk

Call 01284 760623