Fresh sardines with green harissa
Roy says this dish of fresh sardines with green harissa and lemon illustrates how "simple and fresh flavour combinations can work magically".
Photo: Roger Cummins
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- 12 fresh sardines, filleted (ask your fishmonger to do this)
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
- 2 lemons
- For the harissa
- 5 green tomatoes
- 3 green capsicums
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 5 long green chillies, deseeded
- 3/4 tsp caraway
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 bunch continental parsley, chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
· For the harissa: Eye tomatoes and quarter. Place on tray lined with baking paper and slow roast at 150C for about an hour until tender and beginning to shrink. Alternatively, leave tray in the oven on 50C overnight so they are ready to go.
· Roast capsicums in a hot oven until skins are charred and burst. Put in bowl covered with cling wrap and let cool before peeling and removing seeds from the soft flesh.
· Toast spices over medium heat in a dry pan until aromatic. Once cooled, grind them in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
· Place chillies in a food processor and blitz until a paste forms. Occasionally scrape the sides down and add a little extra virgin olive oil to help it along. Once smooth, add the garlic until minced. Then add the ground spices, capsicums, tomatoes, parsley and salt. Process until thick and chunky. Taste for seasoning.
· Scrape into a container and cover generously with extra virgin olive oil. This will be more than you need for this dish, but it lasts for at least a fortnight in the fridge.
· For the sardines: Pat sardines dry with paper towel. Heat a heavy-based frying pan and add a splash of olive oil blended with a little vegetable oil. Place sardines skin side down in the pan. Gently jiggle pan to ensure the skin doesn't catch. Cook over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes until skin is turning golden. (You'll also notice the flesh around edges is beginning to cook and change colour.)
· Gently flip sardines using a palette knife. Remove pan from heat and allow to finish cooking in the pan for 1 minute.
· Meanwhile place a generous dollop of green harissa on each plate. Use palette knife to transfer sardines to the plates.
· Finish with half a lemon on each plate, and a drizzle of a fruity extra virgin olive oil.
· Serve with a crisp salad of shaved green apples, dill and raddichio dressed with lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil.