A little fishy? Oh yes

Carrot and potato salad with caraway, lemon and nigella seeds. Photo: Marcel Aucar Karen Martini: Sardines. Photo: Marcel Aucar
Nanjing Night Net

Sardines on toast. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Sardines on toast. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Karen Martini sardine recipes. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Carrot and potato salad with caraway, lemon and nigella seeds

My meme (grandmother) used to serve this salad with grilled sardines, but it’s also delicious with lots of other things. Think roast chicken with chermoula and thick plain yoghurt, grilled lamb chops with sumac or even in a sandwich with some confit tuna, boiled egg and fresh herbs.

6 large organic carrots, peeled

2 large Dutch cream potatoes, peeled

3 tsp caraway seeds

1 large lemon, juiced

80ml extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp nigella seeds

1 handful coriander leaves, to serve

1. Cut the carrots into thick rounds. Cut the potato into pieces roughly the same size as the carrots.

2. Cook the carrots and potatoes in salted water with the caraway seeds for around 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Reserve some of the carrot rounds and roughly mash the remaining carrot and potato with a fork. Add the lemon juice and most of the oil and mash until you have a coarse paste. Check and adjust the seasoning and pile into a serving bowl.

3. Roll the reserved pieces of carrot in the remaining oil and nigella seeds to coat, drop on top of the paste and finish with the coriander leaves. Serve with smashed sardines and fresh bread or toast.

Serves 6-8

Smashed sardines with cumin, parsley, lemon and garlic

It’s no secret that fresh is best when we’re talking fish, but never is it so true as with sardines. Buy the freshest you can, fillet them yourself and eat them on the day. This is one of my favourite ways of cooking sardines, and a nod to my Tunisian grandmother.

24 whole fresh sardines

4 cloves garlic

4 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp caraway seeds

1 tbsp salt flakes

1 tsp black peppercorns

2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lemons

1 green chilli, sliced, seeds in

harissa, to serve

1. To prepare your sardines, lie a sardine flat on your board and, using a sharp knife, cut off the head. Turn the sardine so that it is facing away from you lengthways, trim along the length of the sardine against the belly and remove the innards. Using the tip of your knife, gently open out the fillet to expose the backbone. Using your fingers, snap the backbone near the tail and gently peel it away from the fillet; the bones will come with it. Scrape away any remaining bones and repeat for the remaining sardines.

2. In a mortar, roughly grind the garlic, cumin, caraway, salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and oil and grind until you have a rough paste. Rub this mix over the sardines.

3. Grill the sardines over a medium fire in a grill pan or on the barbecue for one to two minutes each side. Add the cooked sardines to a serving platter, break up roughly with a fork, squeeze over the lemon, scatter over the green chilli and serve with harissa.

Serves 6-8

Drink Vermentino

Wholemeal and rye no-knead sourdough loaf

The principle of a sourdough starter is pretty simple: a mixture of flour and water is left to allow ambient yeast and acidic bacteria to generate a stable ferment that kills off any nasty microbes and provides a natural leavening agent for baking. The time it takes for the starter to kick off will vary, as will the strength of the ferment, but once it’s been fed a few times it should be pretty robust.

Makes one loaf, but the starter will keep indefinitely if fed.

Sourdough starter

300g organic wholemeal flour, plus extra to feed

500ml spring or filtered water

1. In a large, broad-mouthed jar (more than twice the size of the starting batter) combine the flour and water until there are no lumps and the sides of the jar are as clean as possible. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and set aside somewhere warm for two to three days.

2. After two or three days the mixture should have picked up a sour, beery smell and started to gently bubble – but how active the starter is will depend on the environment and the flour, so be patient if it is a little slow to get going. Add 100 grams more flour and enough water to keep a thick, paint-like consistency. Mix until there are no lumps, making sure to work all the starter up from the bottom of the jar and to clean down the sides. If the starter increases significantly in volume, it will be ready to use, though sometimes you will need to feed it a couple more times (you can just remove and discard some of the starter, or use some of the starter to accommodate the next feed).

3. Once active, cover (don’t seal airtight as it needs oxygen and will produce carbon dioxide) and refrigerate. Feed every three days with 100 grams of flour and water.Wholemeal and rye no-knead loaf

250g  organic plain flour

120g organic wholemeal flour

120g organic rye flour

250g starter batter

12g salt flakes

semolina, to dust

1. Mix the flours together in a large bowl. Mix together 225 millilitres  water, the starter and salt and add to the flour. Combine  well, shape into a round, place in a large bowl and cover with clingwrap. Set  on the counter to prove and double in size – this will take between 12 and 20 hours.

2. Once the dough has risen, turn it out on to a clean tea towel scattered with semolina. Gently reshape into a round loaf and allow to rise again in a warm place for an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 250C conventional and place a cast-iron pot inside with the lid on. Heat for 20 minutes then remove the pot, scatter in some semolina, drop the dough inside and bake with the lid on for 30minutes. Check to see that the crust has developed – if not, cook for a further 5-10 minutes with the lid on.

4. Remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes, then tip out of the pot on to a wire rack and rest until cool. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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