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
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking plus softening
  • Serves 6 - 8
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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.