Sardines with preserved lemon and chilli sauce

Sardines with preserved lemon and chilli sauce

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Preserved lemons have an intense, salty, citrus flavour. Make your own or use shop-bought. Here used with red chilli for a bold sauce, this combination works beautifully with fried or barbecued oily fish. Use mackerel, if you prefer.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g fresh red chillies, long ones not the short round ones, sliced in half and seeds removed
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm fresh ginger, grated
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for the jar
1/2-1 - 2 Preserved oranges and lemons, cleaned of their pulp and skin finely chopped, depending on size (unprepared about equal in weight to the quantity of chilli)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
12 sardines, butterflied or filleted, ask your fishmonger to do this for you
vegetable oil

Method

  1. Blend the chillies, garlic, ginger and onion to a coarse purée in a food processor.
  2. Fry the chilli purée in 2 tablespoons of the oil for 5 minutes, until thickened and fragrant, then remove from the heat and stir in the preserved lemon.
  3. Season to taste with salt, about 1/2–1 teaspoon. If not using the sauce straight away, spoon it into a clean sterilized jar, top with a spoonful of oil to exclude the air from the surface of the sauce, and set aside to cool. Stored in the fridge, the sauce will keep for a couple of weeks or so.
  4. Gently rub the sardines all over with a little vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fry, grill or barbecue the sardines over a moderate to high heat until cooked through, and serve with the preserved lemon and chilli sauce on the side.
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