Chuck Hughes' perfectly grilled sardines served with fresh olive pesto and cauliflower puree are a delightful "menage a trois" of flavors.
Recipe courtesy of Chuck Hughes
Grilled Sardines, Olive Pesto and Cauliflower Puree
26 min
15 min
s: 4 servings
26 min
15 min
s: 4 servings


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 fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Good quality olive oil


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 fillets. 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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