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Stuffed sardines with watercress, beetroot and orange salad

message posted 23-Jun-08 09:55:13
Serves 4

Sardines are in great supply throughout the summer. Their oil-rich flesh means that they roast, grill and fry beautifully and work best with punchy ingredients.

400g uncooked beetroot

Large handful of rock or coarse sea salt

Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked

125g stale white breadcrumbs

3 tbsp mixture of chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley, oregano and rosemary

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3-4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

10-12 sardines, scaled and gutted

2 large oranges, peeled and segmented

100g watercress, woody stems removed

1 red onion, sliced into rings


200ml olive oil

Juice of 1 large oranges, or about 100ml

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

3 tbsp white-wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Wash and dry the beetroot, then trim off the tops. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread a thin layer of rock or coarse sea salt on a large piece of foil. Arrange the beetroot on top and scatter over the thyme leaves. Bring up the edges of the foil to seal the beetroot. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until they are tender and can be pierced easily with a knife.

2 Meanwhile, make the stuffing for the sardines. Put the breadcrumbs, chopped herbs, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice in a bowl. Add some seasoning, give it a stir, then pour in enough olive oil to bind the mixture together to create a soft stuffing.

3 Remove the beetroot from the oven. Unwrap the foil parcel and leave the beetroot to cool slightly. Stuff the sardines with the breadcrumb mixture and transfer to an oiled tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden and the flesh of the sardines feels firm but springy to the touch.

4 Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and whisk together. Add seasoning to taste. While the beetroot are still warm, peel them with a small knife, then cut into chunks or slices. Arrange the beetroot, orange segments, watercress and red onion rings on a platter or individual plates. Place the sardines alongside, then drizzle everything with the dressing to serve

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