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Friday, January 10, 2014

Fresh Sardines with Chickpeas and Beets | You've Got Meal!

Butterfly sardines roasted or grilled * Beets and carrots salad * Boiled chickpeas with yogurt-harissa sauce

There are so many advantages to cooking fresh sardines that it’s hard for me to start talking about those wonderful fish. Sardines are super healthy, rich in good fats, super cheap and easy to find fresh everywhere. They’re like the fast food of the seas, except the part with the health benefits. I’ve seen a number of people who only ate canned sardines and that’s a pity, because they are missing out on something great.

Cooking this tiny tasty treat is super easy and fast, it actually takes longer to clean and gut the sardines. For this recipe, we decided to “butterfly” the fish, it looks nice in the plate and cooks faster – even though this is not such a big issue when cooking sardines. In order to butterfly the sardine, cut off the head, clean the guts out, place the fish belly side up and use your thumb to press down, near the spine of the fish, length wise, up to the tail. Remove the spine carefully pulling it out from the meat. I’m not sure if my description helps, but give it a try, it’s actually a very simple and fun process. 

Simply grill the seasoned meat or cook it in the oven – we went for the 2nd one, cooking the fish for 5 minutes at 180 Celsius. 

To accompany the fish, grab 200 grams of canned chickpeas (or boil your own) and mix them with a couple tbs. of Greek yoghurt and 1-2 tsp. of extra hot harissa sauce or another variety of a more dense spiced tomato sauce. Sprinkle some crushed (and optionally toasted cumin seeds on top).

To add some crunch to the fish and vegetable, grate a small beet and 1 or 2 carrots, season with salt, pepper, olive oil (just a small dash), the juice of 1 lemon and a 4-5 finely chopped mint leaves for freshness. 

To keep in the healthy note of the whole dish, you can sprinkle some flax seeds in the beet salad- those tiny bastards are great for you, an amazing source of fatty acids.

So there you go, super easy, super fast and super fast. Just make sure you take out the trash after cleaning those sardines, those guts are not that friendly for the nose.  


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