I love sardines, the fresher the better but I am not always that lucky so tinned it is for me 90% of the time. Some of the best sardines I have ever eaten were in Portugal. We were on our honeymoon eating our way through Europe. Nic and I came across this great little restaurant with a fantastic view of Porto so we asked for some fish. Out came the freshest sardines I have ever tasted. They were simply grilled on a bbq and served with raw slices of onion and green capsicum (pepper) that were warmed on the grill but still crunchy. You then added red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to suit your taste. A very simple meal but unbelievably good!
Back to the tinned variety.....I'll let you know right now the boys do not like the taste of sardines, one of the best gagging faces I have seen is when Alex thought I was feeding them to him, he was preparing for a full on melt down, alas I saved him the trouble and only tortured him with the rocket!
This recipe also works well with salmon, trout or any fish really, you just throw it in at the last 3-4 minutes to warm it through and there you have it a delicious quick and easy pasta that will be really good for you as well as filling. If you are cooking this for a family meal then simply take the kids portions out before adding sardines and change the amount of chili you add at the beginning. I still add crushed chilies when cooking for the family, it gets them use to the flavour and I have gradually increased the amount month by month, Alex is really building up his heat tolerance which is great, I think by the time he is 6 he'll be good to go with the regular amount so until then I simply have a side portion by me to add freely once served.
Sardines and Rocket Pasta
1 pkt long pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 green capsicum (approx. 3/4 cup)- diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2-1 teaspoon crushed chili
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
2 cups rocket leaves (well packed)
1 tin sardines or fresh is you have them
salt and pepper
Boil water for pasta
Saute onion and capsicum in olive oil on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, the onions will become transparent and capsicum darker in colour.
Add chilli flakes, a good pinch of salt and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
Add rocket and lemon juice to capsicums and cook until rocket is bright green and wilted
Once pasta is boiling add 1/4 cup of pasta water to your sauce and reduce for a minute or so.
When pasta is cooked, drain then add lemon zest and sardines to your sauce followed with your pasta.
Combine ingredients, check seasoning, add freshly cracked pepper if needed then serve.