Chef's Recipes

Grilled sardines with nasturtiums and rosemary tarator

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for grilled sardines with nasturtiums and rosemary tarator by Mike McEnearney, Kitchen by Mike.

By Mike McEnearney
  • Serves 6 - 8
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking plus softening
Grilled sardines with nasturtiums and rosemary tarator
Grilled sardines with nasturtiums and rosemary tarator

"Rosemary will aid poor concentration and memory, headaches and anxiety," says McEnearney. "Walnuts are high in fibre, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. I soak all nuts in water before I use them to make them more digestible."


  • 12 whole sardines
  • 65 gm preserved lemon rind, rinsed and diced
  • 60 gm raisins, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup each (firmly packed) mint, flat-leaf parsley and dill, finely chopped
  • For brushing: olive oil
  • To serve: nasturtium leaves (see note)
Rosemary tarator
  • 50 gm sourdough bread, crusts removed, coarsely torn
  • 20 gm walnuts
  • 50 ml milk
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, coarsely crumbled
  • ½ cup each (firmly packed) rosemary, mint and flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped chives
  • ¼ cup (firmly packed) tarragon
  • 2 tsp baby salted capers, rinsed and drained well
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
Lemon dressing
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1½ lemons


  • 1
    For rosemary tarator, soak bread and walnuts in to soften (4-5 minutes). Squeeze excess milk from bread and transfer to a blender with walnuts. Add egg, herbs, capers and anchovies, blend to combine, then add oil in a thin stream to form a rustic sauce. Add lemon juice, season to taste and set aside. Tarator will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • 2
    For lemon dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and set aside.
  • 3
    Snip the sardine backbones at both ends of the cavity and remove ribs with your fingers (they lift out very easily). Combine preserved rind, raisins and herbs in a bowl, season to taste, then stuff into sardine cavities. Season to taste with a little salt and refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Heat a barbecue to high heat (McEnearney grills over charcoal), brush sardines with olive oil and grill to just char and cook through (1-2 minutes each side). Transfer to a platter lined with nasturtium leaves, spoon lemon dressing over and serve with rosemary tarator.


Note Nasturtium leaves are available from select greengrocers.