Until recently, sardines were known to Americans only as a strong, smelly fish available in cans. This national Portuguese treasure, however, is a delicious environmentally friendly, omega-3 fatty acids rich fish that can stand up to bold flavors. This OFYR recipe is courtesy of Mona and Jaret of Portland's Tournant, a farm-to-fire chef couple who have built a life out of connecting meals guided by the seasons with local bounty from land and sea. This preparation combines greens and a salsa that complement this tiny but mighty member of the herring family.

cuisine American
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 4

Ingredients for the Sardines

8 fresh whole sardines, cleaned 1 lemon, sliced in half across the equator Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Sea salt

Ingredients for the Picada

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted & coarsely chopped 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped Fresh fennel fronds, chopped 1 small shallot, minced 1 tablespoon preserved lemon, finely chopped (rind only, flesh removed & reserved for another purpose) Pinch saffron (optional) 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt, to taste

Ingredients for the greens

4 cups bitter greens (arugula, dandelion, radicchio, treviso, endive) 1 whole fennel bulb, halved & thinly sliced on a mandoline 4 radishes, thinly sliced 1 lemon, juiced Extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt flakes

Directions

  1. Make picada by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine and adding more olive oil if needed to create a spoonable sauce. Season to taste with salt. 
  2. Prepare OFYR (or gas or charcoal grill) to medium high heat. Place sardines on a Staub Cast Iron Fish Pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  3. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, including inside the belly as well. Grill on both sides until blistered and fully cooked.
  4. Sear lemon halves, flesh side down on the OFYR ring until blackened.
  5. Combine greens, shaved fennel and radishes in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of  the half lemon over the greens, sprinkle with flaky salt, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Toss to combine.
  6. Arrange a bed of greens on a serving platter. Top with the sardines and spoon picada over the fish, garnish with reserved fennel fronds, and serve with the halves of burnt lemons (squeeze over the salad at the table before serving). Serve immediately.