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    Grilled Sardines with a Lemon Oil, Pine Nut, Herb and 'Seawater' Dressing

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    Grilled Sardines with a Lemon Oil, Pine Nut, Herb and 'Seawater' Dressing

    The parsley you'll find in Morocco is the flat-leaf variety. Many Moroccans grow parsley, as well as mint and coriander, in their plots at home. It also sells in abundance during spring and summer in the food markets. Moroccan cooks will often buy it in large quantities, chop it and freeze it: frozen, it will keep for up to six months. This is one of those recipes that can only be finalised when shopping in the market. Although grilled sardines are very popular in Morocco, if another fish looks better, use that instead. The herbs suggested here are very much a guide; use whichever soft green herbs take your fancy. For authenticity, cook the sardines on the barbecue.

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 6 minutes
    • Total time: 26 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp sea salt
    • 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
    • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 20g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    • 20g coriander, chopped
    • 20g mint, chopped
    • 250ml lemon-infused olive oil, plus extra for brushing
    • 12 sardines, gutted
    • 3 large lemons, halved

    Method

    1. Light your barbecue well in advance if using it to cook the sardines. Dissolve the sea salt in about 5 tbsp boiling water. When it has cooled, it should have a strong briny flavour. Place the pine nuts in a bowl with the shallots, garlic and herbs. Season with pepper, then stir in the lemon-infused olive oil and 'seawater'.
    2. Brush the sardines with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Barbecue, griddle or grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
    3. Transfer them to plates, give the dressing a good stir and spoon some over the sardines. (You may not need it all, but you can use it up over the next few days drizzled on potatoes, grilled salmon or lamb cutlets). Serve with the lemon halves.

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    Drinks recommendation

    The classic Moroccan combination of lemon and salt poses problems for wine matching, but the sardines' oily sweetness has an affinity for ripe, soft-textured, citrus-scented whites.

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