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Betsy Block

Grilled Sardines with Pomegranate Dressing


By Brian Villahermosa, Salt Yard in London

For two tapas-size portions:

4 medium sardines (scaled and gutted, hopefully by someone else)

extra virgin olive oil

1 pomegranate

100 ml. pomegranate juice (or a little less than  cup)

100 g. baby spinach or rocket (that's arugula - enough of either to make a nice little salad base)

1 lemon

500 ml. red wine (little more than 2 cups)

100 g. sugar (between 1/3 and  cup)

50 ml. balsamic vinegar (little less than  cup)


Cut the pomegranate in half over a sieve, collecting the juice in a bowl underneath. Smack out the seeds with a wooden spoon whilst (he said "whilst"! Love that!) squeezing - this should release the seeds into the sieve and more juice into the bowl. Pick out the inner bits from the pomegranate to leave you with just the seeds and juice. Put the seeds to one side.

Put the juice, wine and sugar in a small saucepan and reduce over medium heat by two-thirds. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce until it is of pouring cream consistency. Keep warm.

Rub the sardines with extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest. Season and chargrill them on a barbecue or a griddle pan until done (two to three minutes on each side).

Dress the baby spinach or arugula/rocket with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and season.

To assemble, place the baby spinach/rocket/arugula on two plates. Place two sardines per plate on top. Add the pomegranate seeds to the warm dressing and drizzle over the sardines.