Grilled Sardines, Olive Pesto and Cauliflower Puree

Chuck Hughes' perfectly grilled sardines served with fresh olive pesto and cauliflower puree are a delightful "menage a trois" of flavors.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 26 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 11 min
  • Yield: s: 4 servings
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Cauliflower Puree:

1 head cauliflower, cut in small pieces

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive Pesto:

1 cup green olives

2 cups fresh basil

2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup roasted peeled almonds

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Grilled Sardines:

12 sardine fillets

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Good quality olive oil


  1. For the cauliflower puree: Cook the cauliflower in salted boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the water and transfer cauliflower to a blender. Add butter and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  2. For the pesto: In a blender, combine olives, basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup almonds, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. For the grilled sardines: In a skillet, grill sardines in olive oil for 1 minute on the skin side. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  4. For the serving: Pour some cauliflower puree on the bottom of a plate, top with 3 sardine fillets. Garnish each sardine with a dollop of the green pesto. Crush the remaining almonds sprinkle. Drizzle with some good olive oil and serve.

Cook’s Note

You can replace sardines with smelt, herring or mackerel.

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