Let’s Get Smashed
On salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines & herring. All are oily fish and fantastic sources of Omega 3.
Salmon is something we seem to have no problem sourcing and consuming, and mackerel too (apart from the current over-fishing worries). Both are readily available in all supermarkets in their fresh or smoked form (both forms of which I adore). Next on the list comes anchovies which I’m now finding can easily be snuck into the diet in delicacies such as Salsa Verde, meat marinades or by topping a classic Caesar or Nicoise Salad. In an effort to up my variety of oily fish, this week I’m tackling sardines. I’ll need a little more guts to work my way up to herring.
Sardines are fab for a number of reasons; in addition to their oily fish halo they are incredibly cheap and they come in tins so are great for storecupboard emergencies (make sure you buy the olive-oil ones). This week I found some frozen ones which I’ve used in this recipe. I’m a wuss and have bought them pre-filleted because the little heads and bones make me heave. However if you can stomach the bones I would highly recommend as they are a good source of calcium.
Sardines are best cooked simply and here I have just pan-fried and topped them with mint and preserved lemon salsa. The preserved lemon gives an intense lemon flavour with less of the tartness you can get with fresh lemon. The citrus also helps cut through the fat and oil, whilst the cumin is there for a bit of punch. The recipe below includes instructions on my side dish of choice – courgettes and green beans.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 2 courgettes, sliced into rounds
- 100g green beans, cut into 2cm lengths
- 25g fresh mint leaves
- Tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 preserved lemon (I use Belazu)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Juice half a fresh lemon
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch Celtic salt
- 6 Cornish butterflied sardine fillets (mine come frozen from Waitrose) / Whole sardines or tinned would work well too.
- Heat up a griddle pan and fry the courgettes in a little oil until charred on both sides. Set aside.
- Meanwhile steam the green beans, when done, drain and combine with the courgettes.
- If you are able to multi-task make up the salsa while the courgettes are frying. Either by hand or using a mini-processor combine the mint, preserved lemon (first take out the pips), cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Taste and adjust oil or seasoning as desired.
- Using the same pan the courgettes were cooked in (less washing up!) add a little extra oil if necessary, & turn the pan to medium heat. Place the fillets skin side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes till cooked through. Be careful not to let the sardines stick. When done plate up as in the pic, drizzling over the salsa and sprinkling a few torn mint leaves over the courgettes.
What’s your favourite way of cooking sardines?