Bonjour, mes amis! Today, we embark on a culinary journey that will transport our taste buds to the charming landscapes of France. Join me as we explore the marvelous world of sardines in French cuisine – a true delight that never fails to tantalize the palate and bring joy to the table. We’ll be baking sardines right in their tins. It’s charmingly rustic and so, so French. But first, let’s talk about seasonsings.

Herbs that pack a flavor punch: Thyme

Let’s start by delving into the wondrous herb that often accompanies our sardine dishes – thyme. This aromatic herb boasts a taste that’s both earthy and subtly minty, with a touch of lemon. It’s like a fragrant whisper of the French countryside in every bite. Thyme thrives in sunny Mediterranean climates, where it flourishes in rocky, well-drained soil. It’s a hardy plant, showing off its vibrant green leaves even during the hot summer months. It’s used widely in French cooking to infuse dishes with its delicate essence, from hearty stews to roasted meats and, of course, our star of the day – sardines. The addition of thyme elevates the sardine’s flavors to new heights, making each bite a dance of incroyable sensations.

Canned fish worth trying: Sardines

Now, let’s dive into the heart of our culinary adventure – sardines. These little ocean treasures inhabit the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and even the English Channel. The best time to catch them is during their peak season, which usually spans from late spring to early autumn. Picture this: the sun painting the horizon with hues of orange and pink as you reel in the freshest catch. Très bien, isn’t it?

While sardines are often associated with traditional fishing, did you know that aquaculture has also embraced these silvery wonders? Sustainable fish farming practices have brought sardines into the realm of possibility for year-round enjoyment. Raised in controlled environments that mimic their natural habitat, farmed sardines provide us with a consistent supply of delectable seafood. This not only ensures the availability of sardines regardless of the season but also supports responsible seafood consumption.

So, whether you’re enjoying a rustic picnic by the Seine or a cozy dinner with loved ones, sardines are a fantastic addition to your French culinary repertoire. Their versatility, combined with the aromatic charm of thyme, is a match made in gastronomic heaven. From fresh salads to mouthwatering pâtés, sardines bring a touch of coastal magnificence to every dish.

As we conclude our journey into the world of sardines in French cuisine, I invite you to savor every bite with the knowledge that you’re indulging in a culinary tradition that spans generations. Bon appétit, dear foodies! Embrace the flavors, the history, and the pure joy that each dish brings. Incroyable moments await at your table.

A bientôt! Et bonne cuisine!

And now, chers lecteurs, without further adieu, crumble de sardines en boîte.

A bientôt! Et bonne cuisine!

Baked sardines

Crumble de sardines en boîte
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people


  • 5 Tbsp butter unsalted
  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 5 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 4 twigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 4 cans sardines packed in olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


  • Preheat the over to 350 ℉.

Cheese crumbling topping

  • Cut the butter into ½ cubes. Add to a medium mixing bowl, along with the flour, Parmesan cheese, and leaves from the fresh thyme. Using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter and flour-cheese mixture together until the pieces of the butter are the of oatmeal flakes.

Assemble the sardines

  • Carefully open each tin of sardines and pour out the oil in to a small mixing bowl. Be sure to leave the sardines in their tins. Use the tines of a fork to gently break up the sardines in their tins. Evenly distribute the cheese crumble topping among the four sardine tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Tomato salad

  • Depending on the type and size of the tomatoes you've chosen, cut them in half or quarters. Mix the oil from the sardine tins with the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour over the tomatoes. Use a large spoon to gently toss the tomato salad.


Note: We use yellow cherry tomatoes for the salad, but any variety will work well.
Note: While dry thyme will work in a pinch, it is significantly stronger than its fresh counterpart. If using dried thyme, reduce the amount by at least half.
Note: A crunchy baguette and crisp white wine make the perfect pairing for this fast and simple summer meal.