Chef Eric Stein, MS RD CCE

Wellness Chef | Registered Dietitian
Certified Culinary Educator

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Roasted Sardines with Smoked Paprika Emulsion, Chickpea and Fennel Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

Posted: May 21, 2012 1:00 AM

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This is my first submission to a great online community known as the Recipe Redux. This month's theme was "Small Fishes". I chose sardines for this challenge for a variety of reasons. Sardines are truly a nutritional powerhouse providing high levels of nutrients such as B-vitamins, calcium, and vitamin-D, but one of the greatest benefits of sardines is their high omega-3 fat content. I reinforced the omega-3 content of the dish with the addition of walnuts to the salad. Ironically, I was also drinking a black currant-chia seed smoothie while I was preparing this dish. Chia seeds are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fresh sardines can be purchased at many local grocery stores and fish markets as they have been growing in popularity over recent years. Make sure to ask the person behind the counter to clean out the guts for you. You can also have them remove the head if you like. I like to cook the fish with the head on because it helps to prevent the meat from drying out during roasting. Fresh sardines are very delicate so be careful not to overcook them.

One of the signatures to my cooking style is the use of dried fruits and nuts in savory cooking. I like to do so because they add flavor and texture to dishes, but also add a variety of nutrients. The salad component of this dish calls for golden raisins soaked in verjus blanc. Verjus is similar to a sweet wine, but without the alcohol, and with much more acidity. I keep golden raisins soaking in verjus in the refrigerator to use to added a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes.

Roasted Sardines with Smoked Paprika Emulsion
Chickpea and Fennel Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

4 Servings

For the Sardines:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
8 Each Fresh Sardines, Scaled and Cleaned
To Taste Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Emulsion
1 Ounce Pasteurized Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Clove Fresh Garlic
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
½ Cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To Taste Kosher Salt

For the Vinaigrette:
4 Each Lemons
As Needed Canola Oil
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, Minced
To Taste Kosher Salt and Red Pepper Flakes

For the Salad:
1 Cup Chickpeas, Cooked
1 Cup Fennel, Shaved on Mandoline
1/3 Cup Red Onion, Shaved on Mandoline
2/3 Cup Frisée Lettuce
4 Tablespoons Golden Raisins Soaked in Verjus Blanc
4 Tablespoons Walnut Pieces

Method of Preparation:
For the Sardines:
Preheat oven to 400°F
Rub sardines with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking pan and place in oven and roast for 8-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

For the Emulsion:
Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the blender and puree until smooth
Drizzle the oil into the blender and puree until emulsified.

For the Vinaigrette:
Rub lemons with the canola oil and place in the oven.
Roast lemons for 30 minutes.
Remove lemons from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Cut lemons and remove pulp
Strain pulp through a fine mesh strainer, pushing solids to extract all the juice.
Combine the lemon pulp with the olive oil and parsley.

For the Salad:
Combine all the salad ingredients in the bowl and dress with vinaigrette.
Drizzle additional vinaigrette over the fish.


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Oh WOW! Could this dish look more fantastic? I probably could not pull it off nearly as beautifully as you have, but I might just give it a try. Love the fennel and white beans...both my favorites!

Wow is right! You've blown me away. Your photos look fabulous and your dish sounds wonderful. I'm not familiar with verjus blanc. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to look for it in my markets.

That's amazing! I feel like I'm reading the script of a Food Network show... I've never used fresh sardines but now I have a recipe next time I find them in the store

Wow - Eric, you knocked your first ReDux recipe out of the park! I've never tried fresh sardines but I would assume they would be more milder than the canned versions and anything roasted is delicious in my opinion. And love the idea of roasting lemons, too - great tip!

Great recipe! Love fresh sardines too...! Brings back good memories from the Mediterranean. Your pictures are beautiful too.

Wow - never even thought to go for fresh sardines! Baby steps, as it was a challenge to get myself to try canned and now I love them!

What an incredible array of flavors in this dish! I've always wanted to try fresh sardines and now I have no excuse not to. So glad you joined the ReDux!

It looks awesome! Very appetizing!

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