Sunday, 21 September 2008

Grilled Fresh Sardines with Roasted Marinated Vegetables and Gremolata

Sardines are great. It doesn't matter whether they're from a tin or fresh, they're always good. I picked up some Cornish ones the other day, and they were really fresh, smelling of the sea. Their plump silvery bodies looked so inviting.

Although sardines can be eaten whole I prefer not having to deal with any bones whilst eating them, so I set about filleting them. It was very easy as they were of a good size.

Sardines are an oily fish, so something that can stand up to that whilst cutting through the richness was needed to accompany them. Choosing to create a Mediterranean style dish, I slow roasted some tomatoes in the oven, which partly dries them and intensifies the flavour. Just halve some medium sized tomatoes and place them in a baking tray, sprinkle with a little sea salt and sugar and put in a low temperature oven for about 2 hours, or until they have shrunk to about half their original size.
I also cut some red and yellow peppers, courgette, and red onion into large chunks, tossed them in a little olive oil and roasted them in a medium oven until they had softened and taken on some charring at the edges.

The rest was easy. I put the tomatoes and rest of the vegetables into a bowl, added a small splash of red wine vinegar, a good slosh of extra virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of dried oregano, a few capers and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
This I just left to marinade all together while I made the gremolata.

I grated the zest of lemon into a bowl, then add a grated clove of garlic and finely chopped flat-leafed parsley and mixed together well.

All that was left to do was to cook the fish. I laid the glistening sardine fillets, skin side up on a non-stick baking sheet and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. There was no need for any oil – the fish had enough naturally.
Then I put them under a preheated grill on a very high heat, until the skins started to blister and crisp slightly. I didn’t need to turn them over as the fillets were thin enough to allow the heat to penetrate and cook them all the way through.

To serve, I piled the marinated vegetables on to plates along with any liquid and then placed the sardines on top and sprinkled with the gremolata.

Bread was all that was needed to mop up the sweet and succulent juice.


Just Cook It said...

I love how gremolata cuts through fatty or oily foods. Sounds like a pefect match for sardines.

Cheeky Spouse said...

Yes Alex, gremolata is just perfect. It's better than just squeezing over some lemon juice. The zest is so zingy and refreshing, although you do end up with garlic breath!

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