super sardines
Harissa Grilled Sardines, with Merquez, Pine Nuts and Raisins
entrée for 4
Tony Carroll, Jolleys Boathouse Restaurant

like to try another great quick and delicious sardine recipe, clikc on the image


200g Merquez sausage meat, squeezed from the skins — see shopping
20g toasted pine nuts
20g tea smoked raisins
20g fresh white breadcrumbs (crustless)
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
16 sardine fillets (8 whole sardines), fins removed
60g harissa paste
50g EV olive oil
50g dukka
2 lemons, cut into quarters and pips removed
Cumin yoghurt – recipe follows

Cumin Yoghurt
200g drained Greek yoghurt
30g (1 tablespoon) freshly strained lemon juice
3 pinches (6g) toasted, ground and sieved cumin seeds
sea salt to taste

essential — 4 wooden skewers soaked in cold water for a couple of hours

For years if you wanted to eat sardines they came in a tin or from Western Australia. They still come in tins but not from Western Australia……..yeah! Finally we have a local supplier from unspoiled Port Lincoln and weather permitting they’ll nearly always be fresh. Peter White from Port Lincoln Sardine, is a modest sort of bloke and seemed a bit taken aback when I rang him to tell him how fabulous his sardines were. A fisherman at heart Port Lincoln Sardine is very much a family business. Peter and his daughter Gemma and son Toby put in the hard yards to bring their factory up to the highest standard. Wife Sue is sweetly credited for supporting the business and getting it to where they are today and another son Marcus is now co–manager of the factory. Peter also acknowledges his friend Jim Menolia, a well–known Western Australian sardine fisherman who shared his expertise with great generosity. We like Peter White a lot because he is the type of bloke who acknowledges along the way the help he has been given.
Initially the Whites were catching feed for the tuna farms but when the bottom fell out of the market they were forced to look for other options for their catch and realised there was an opening for table sardines. The commitment didn’t just end with a boat big enough to carry their allotted catch but led them to import the Scottish V.M.K. sardine filleting machine. The Whites credit brother Bob, with his engineering talents for finally getting the machine to work the way it should. Port Lincoln Sardines don’t have a web site yet, but we are told it is under way. Their sardines are packed in kilo packs for the restaurant trade with four fish per entrée serve we got eleven and a half entrée serves from a kilo and if you’re buying from your favourite fish monger four fish per person is tons for an entrée and six for a main course.
Whatever you do with them keep it simple because such a great product needs no serious embellishment and we think this is real fast food!


Mix the sausage meat, pine nuts, sultanas and breadcrumbs together and season lightly because the harissa packs a punch. Divide the mixture between the sardines and spread it on the skin sides of the fillets. Starting at the tail end roll them up tightly and skewer four fish on each skewer and brush the fish on all sides with the harissa. To this point can be done in advance.
Cook on hot charcoal grill for 2 minutes on each side, squeeze four quarters of the lemon over the fish and sprinkle with dukka, serve immediately with another lemon wedge on each plate.

for the cumin yoghurt
Mix everything together and serve as an accompaniment to the harissa sardines and you might like to add a roasted pumpkin, Persian feta and mint salad or try the Pumpkin and mograbieh salad from super salads on the Galaxy Guides recipe index

shopping for Adelaide South Australia

  • Merquez is a spicy lamb and paprika based sausage with North African origins. Jolleys Boathouse make their own, however, it is available from Barossa Fine Foods, Adelaide Central Markets, or at a push it could be replaced with Chorizo.
  • Harissa can be purchased commercially and although it is a bit of work making your own is always the best. Store it like pesto submerged under a layer of your best EV olive oil to keep the deep bright green colour of the mint.
  • Garlic ciabatta crumbs at Red Ochre come from their wood oven downstairs and are basically rough ciabatta crumbs, with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and olive oil and roasted in the wood oven until they are crisp. The flavour is of course great, but you can achieve a good approximation in your oven or substitute Japanese breadcrumbs but you might need a little more oil.
  • Macadamia paste is a house product at Red Ochre but the Hardings Fine Foods Macadamia Spread is an excellent product and perfect in the domestic kitchen ––spreads.html we also love their oils and only use their almond oil for our desserts. Yes slackers we think it is possible to taste that nasty rancid ’non stick’ spray stuff so many chefs use for their desserts and of course olive oil is way too strong.
  • trade enquiries or to find your local fishmonger Salty’s Fish Market, 52–58 London Road, Mile End, South Australia 5031, telephone 8352 1555 (+61 8 8352 1555)
  • quick sardine ideas

  • We’ve always loved the Art Gallery Restaurant’s crunchy–coated sardines and great mayonnaise or relish, sometimes even a combination of both.
  • Try stuffing the sardines with your favourite barley risotto, wrapping them in vine leaves, a generous amount of olive oil and bake them for about 10 minutes in a very hot oven in a clay pot that has been soaked in cold water for 30 minutes. Serve with nothing more than lemon wedges they are good either hot or cold.
  • Preserve them by covering with boiling vinaigrette. Drained, they are just gorgeous on hot buttered toast with chopped onion and a big dab of your favourite mayonnaise.
  • Deep–fried in tempura batter, or Coopers beer batter, lemon wedges and roasted garlic aioli.