Grilled Sardines

Grilled Sardines, Cripsy Halloumi, Watercress Salad & Figs, and Thick Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4 (makes enough mousse for 8)

SARDINES

  • 8 whole sardines (approx. 85g
  • each), scaled and gutted
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

SALAD

  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 1 x 100g mixed bag of prewashed
  • rocket and watercress
  • 1 x 50g pack of alfalfa shoots
  • 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

HALLOUMI

  • 1 x 250g pack of halloumi
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 cloves of garlic

FIGS

  • 4 figs
  • runny honey
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint

SEASONINGS

  • olive oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper

MOUSSE (serves 8)

  • 2 x 100g bars of good-quality dark
  • chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • a small knob of butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • a splash of brandy, Baileys, Grand
  • Marnier or Armagnac
  • cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 1 orange, clementine or a handful of
  • strawberries

TO SERVE

  • 1 x 6-pack of wholemeal pitta breads
  • 1 lemon
  • a bottle of chilled rosé wine

TO START Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Turn the oven on to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Put a medium saucepan on a medium heat and fill halfway with hot water.

MOUSSE Leave the chocolate bars in their wrappers and smash them against the counter. Get a large serving bowl and 2 mixing bowls out. Tip the chocolate chunks into a heatproof mixing bowl with the butter, then place over the pan of simmering water and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the nice serving bowl with 300ml of cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste or extract and whip until silky with soft peaks. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the whipped cream and the whites to the empty mixing bowl. Gently mix through, then put aside. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and whisk really well until stiff. By now the chocolate should be melted, so spoon it into the bowl of whipped cream with a swig of your favourite liqueur and stir through. Gently fold the egg whites through with a spatula, then put into the freezer to set.

SALAD Put a medium frying pan on a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of almonds and toast, tossing occasionally until golden, then tip into a small bowl and put the frying pan back on a low heat.

SARDINES Put the sardines into a large roasting tray. Crush over the 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt & pepper. Finely grate over the zest of 1 lemon, then squeeze in all the juice and add the halves to the tray, cut side up. Drizzle over a little olive oil. Finely slice 1 fresh red chilli and sprinkle over the top. Finely chop the parsley stalks and scatter them over, along with 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and put aside. Toss with your hands. Put the roasting tray on the top shelf of the oven for around 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Wash your hands.

HALLOUMI Cut the halloumi into 8 chunks. Scatter over the sesame seeds and press them into the halloumi. Put a lug of olive oil into the hot frying pan. Squash a few unpeeled cloves of garlic and add to the oil. Turn the heat up to medium. As soon as the garlic starts sizzling, add the halloumi to the pan. Leave to cook for 2 minutes, until golden, then flip over and turn the heat down. Tip any seeds left behind on the board into the pan.

PITTAS Splash all the pitta breads on both sides with cold water and stack them on the bottom shelf of the oven to warm through.

SALAD Tip the salad leaves and alfalfa on to a platter. Finely slice the leaves from 5 or 6 sprigs of mint and scatter over, along with the toasted almonds. Halve a pomegranate, then hold 1 half cut side down in your hand and bash the back with a spoon so the seeds fall over the salad. Pour 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a small jug. Squeeze in the juice from the remaining pomegranate half. Add 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, mix, then take to the table with the salad to dress at the last minute.

FIGS Cut a cross in the top of each fig, then pinch the bottoms so they burst open. Pop them on a little serving board with a small bowl of runny honey in the centre. Pick over the leaves from a couple of sprigs of mint. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Cut the lemon into wedges, pop 1 wedge alongside the figs and take to the table.

TO SERVE Take the tray of sardines to the table with the warm pitta breads and the pan of golden halloumi. Scatter the chopped parsley over the the halloumi and serve with wedges of lemon for squeezing over and some chilled rosé. When you’re ready, take the mousse out of the freezer, quickly dust with cocoa powder and serve with wedges of orange, clementine or some strawberries on the side.

Recipe taken from “Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes” by Jamie Oliver ©Jamie Oliver 2011. jamieoliver.com

For additional recipes, purchase “Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes.”

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