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Cook the Book: Grilled Sardines with Chopped Salad and Skordalia Soup

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

20091109-howtoroastalamb.jpgAfter a week of recreating recipes from How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis, it occurred to me that I haven't had such consistently healthy meals in a long time. During normal weeks I'll go through at least a pound of butter, a dozen eggs, and more heavy cream than I care to admit.

My shopping list this week—tons of vegetables, a little bit of meat and fish, barely any dairy aside from some crumbled feta and a few spoonfuls of yogurt—was almost puritanical compared to my usual haul. Thinking back over a week's worth of healthy Greek-inspired meals, I didn't miss a thing.

This recipe for Grilled Sardines with Chopped Salad and Skordalia Soup is a prime example of how a seemingly humble combination of fish and vegetables can be turned into a thing of beauty with Psilakis' Aegean expertise.

If you have never grilled sardines, seriously, you have to try them.

If you have never grilled sardines, seriously, you have to try them. They have nothing to do with the oily, sometimes stinky variety that has turned so many people off of the lovely little fish. This particular preparation couldn't be easier since your fishmonger does most of the work for you. All that's left is for you to debone them (it takes about 30 seconds per fish), season, and grill them. The Skordalia is a Greek garlicky puree of potatoes and vinegar, which serves as the glue that brings this plate together.

Skordalia is at once starchy, creamy, and acidic and works as a perfect foil for the richness of the grilled sardines. Topping the dish with a little bit of chopped Greek Salad adds a raw crunch and a little more vinegary punch. Oh, and aside from tasting fantastic, this dish was an absolute knockout of a plate.

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Grilled sardines. [Flickr: In Praise of Sardines]

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