Grilled Sardines, Olive Pesto and Cauliflower Puree

Chuck Hughes' perfectly grilled sardines served with fresh olive pesto and cauliflower puree are a delightful "menage a trois" of flavors.

Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes
Show: Chuck's Day Off Episode: The Spice Guys
TOTAL TIME: 26 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 11 min
 
YIELD: s: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

CAULIFLOWER PUREE:
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut in small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
OLIVE PESTO:
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted peeled almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
GRILLED SARDINES:
  • 12 sardine filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
GARNISH:
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    Directions

    For the cauliflower puree: Cook the cauliflower in salted boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the water and transfer cauliflower to a blender. Add butter and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

    For the pesto: In a blender, combine olives, basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup almonds, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

    For the grilled sardines: In a skillet, grill sardines in olive oil for 1 minute on the skin side. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

    For the serving: Pour some cauliflower puree on the bottom of a plate, top with 3 sardine filets. Garnish each sardine with a dollop of the green pesto. Crush the remaining almonds sprinkle. Drizzle with some good olive oil and serve.

    Cook's Note: You can replace sardines with smelt, herring or mackerel.

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    • on April 15, 2012

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      This meal is so delicious. My fish guy always has fresh sardines, so I tried this recipe. The cauliflower puree is incredible - smooth and creamy and hearty. The creaminess against the fresh hot sardines and the salty/tangy olive pesto is a perfect plate-licking combo - the kind where you mix everything all together for the last few bites. I forgot to get basil at the store so I had to use cilantro instead in the pesto. Still just as good. I served the meal with some sauteed leeks and fresh tomatoes.

      And the healthiness is the best part -- Good Omegas, no Bad Carbs, tons of fiber and vitamins. Just perfect.

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    • on October 25, 2011

      Flag

      This dish is simple and quick to make, and it tastes great. The cauliflower purée has a luxurious mouthfeel, without the starchiness of potatoes, and the pesto is a nice hit of freshness. I will definitely be making this again.

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