Chargrilled sardines, nasturtiums, oregano and chilli

Chargrilled sardines, nasturtiums, oregano and chilli

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Alan Benson

Sardines are such tasty fish but, because of the bones, a lot of people are frightened of them. This recipes explains how to remove the bones so the fish is easier to eat. Nasturtiums are a common plant and I often find them while walking and foraging. The leaves have a far longer season than the flower. I look for smaller leaves, as the large ones can be a little tough. If you have a nut allergy, the Rosemary tarator recipe will still work very well without the nuts – but instead of tarator it will be a rosemary salsa verde.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
12 whole sardines
65g preserved lemon rind, rinsed and diced
60g raisins, coarsely chopped
25g firmly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
15g flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
20g oregano leaves, finely chopped
1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
nasturtium leaves, to serve
1/2 quantity rosemary tarator

Lemon dressing

Quantity Ingredient
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lemons juiced

Method

  1. For the lemon dressing, whisk the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
  2. To prepare the sardines, snip the backbones at both ends of the cavity and remove the ribs with your fingers – they lift out very easily. Combine the preserved rind, raisins, herbs and chilli in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stuff the mixture into the sardine cavities.
  3. Heat a barbecue to high. Brush the sardines with olive oil and grill to just char and cook them through, 1–2 minutes each side. Transfer to a platter lined with nasturtium leaves, spoon the lemon dressing over and serve with the rosemary tarator on the side.

Medicinal benefit

  • Sardines are a particularly rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. They’re also high in calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. Calcium can prevent the loss of bone density and help heal broken bones. Rosemary is a good source of vitamins A and C and contains rosmarinic acid. This substance has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties; it can even aid in preventing cell damage. It also helps with poor concentration and memory, as well as with headaches and anxiety. Walnuts are high in fibre and antioxidants, and also have anti-inflammatory properties.
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