Spicy Sardines with Tartare Salad and Red Capsicum & Walnut Pesto

Spicy Sardines with Tartare Salad and Red Capsicum & Walnut Pesto

Spicy Sardines with Tartare Salad and Red Capsicum & Walnut Pesto

I have spent years experimenting with sardine recipes. They are a fantastic source of omega 3 fatty acids. But many people avoid them, saying they are too "fishy". If you fall into the "sardines are too fishy" camp, you HAVE TO try this recipe. It is my all-time favourite way to eat them.

This dish has lots of BIG flavours to balance out the "fishiness" of the sardines. The Tartare Salad uses the same ingredients I use to make Tartare Sauce and the Red Capsicum & Walnut Pesto provide an even greater omega-3 boost!


8-12 sardine fillets (You can buy sardine fillets from your local fishmonger)

Fish coating

2 heaped tablespoons Besan (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
NOTE: don't worry too much if you don't have all of these ingredients. Just make do with what you have, and aim to make a deliciously spicy coating for the fish. 

Tartare Salad

1 bunch flat leaf parsley (leaves only), finely chopped
½ bunch dill, finely chopped
3 tablespoons baby capers (if you have large capers, chop them)
3 tablespoons cornichons or gherkins, finely diced
1 small red onion or 1 shallot , finely diced
1 avocado, de-seeded, peeled and diced
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (I find I don't need to season this salad, so make sure you taste it first and then decide if you need salt and pepper!)

Roasted Capsicum & Walnut Pesto

3 red capsicums (bell peppers), halved and de-seeded
1 cup raw walnuts
1 mild chilli or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chilli powder
2-3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper



Combine all fish coating ingredients on a plate or shallow bowl.
Press each sardine fillet into the coating mix and shake off the excess.

Now you have two choices of how to cook it:

Shallow Fry Method:

Heat olive oil in frying pan and fry coated sardines until golden brown and cooked through - it should only take a few minutes.
When cooked, place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.

Oven Bake Method:

Place coated sardine fillets on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Spray with a fine mist of olive oil (optional - but it's well worth investing in an oil spray bottle. I love mine!).
Cook in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for 10-20 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your sardines. Check regularly and remove from oven when the sardines are cooked through.

Tartare Salad

Place all ingredients into a bowl and toss well to combine.
Taste and adjust ingredients to your liking.

Roasted Capsicum & Walnut Pesto

Place capsicum halves on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees celsius) for 20-30 minutes or until cooked and starting to brown around the edges.
Once cooked, place the capsicums in a food processor with all other ingredients and blend until your desired level of "smoothness" is achieved. Pause from time to time to scrape down the sides of the food processor and taste. Add extra lemon juice, chilli or other seasonings until you are happy with the taste.

Serve and enjoy!