Sure, it’s more fancy than sardines on toast. The dish is based on a recipe from The Sydney Broadsheet cookbook published by the Broadsheet City Guide. I have both the Sydney and Melbourne cookbooks which are. full of excellent cafe and restaurant meals – tasty, complex, and capable for home cooks.
I love sardines. Healthy and sustainable seafood. And on this occasion, available at the old price of $7 per kilo. And by now I know how to prep sardines. Really.
The original recipe had the butterflied sardines stuffed with a coriander and almond meal pesto. I made a basil and pine nut pesto (garlic, no cheese).
The base is puff pastry topped with a beetroot relish, and I’ve made a similar recipe before. Here’s the cookbook version.
60ml olive oil (recipe says 80ml but it was too oily at the end)
1/2 brown onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves< finely diced
1 long green chilli, chopped (not sure how this is different from “finely diced”)
2 beetroots, peeled and grated (I used baked beetroot, and realised later that it probably meant raw beetroot)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan on medium and sweat the onion and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the green chilli and cook for another minute.
Add the beetroot, sugar and 3 tbsp water. Cook on very low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally. I found that after 50 mins it was going to burn.
Add the coriander seeds and salt and pepper to taste.
I also added some baked rounds of beetroot and pumpkin, topped with pine nut tarrator from Cumulus Inc by Andrew McConnell. In his recipe, featured on the book cover, a grilled sardine is served on toast on a sweet onion relish, topper with the tarrator and dill.
Pine Nut Tarrator
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/4 clove garlic
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
pinch of sumac
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Toast pine nuts on a baking tray in the oven at 180C for about 5 minutes, shaking them a couple of times. Chop roughly.
Crush garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle. Add lemon juice and vinegar, stir, and let it sit for 5 mins.
Add pine nuts, parsley, sumac and olive oil, and stir.
As you can see, I spooned the tarrator onto the baked beetroot and pumpkim.
I decided to add crumbled feta and rock samphire from our garden. I also served the dish with lemon rather than lime in the original recipe.
This recipe has heaps of flavour. The sardines need to be well cooked. The pesto expands as the fish releases its liquid. The acidity of the lemon is needed at the end.
It was suggested that it could have been cut into slices as finger food. I’m going to work on how to make that an entree.