Sardines, Harissa & Orange

For anyone who likes spicy food (that definitely includes us!) harissa is something of a wonder ingredient. The chilli and other ingredients (usually red pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, rose, coriander, caraway…) combine to form an intoxicatingly fragrant and warm paste, and very often it is the only flavouring that you’ll need to add! In this case, we’re adding fresh orange to our harissa and sardine dish – the sweet, tangy flavour makes this a really indulgent meal. It’s really quick and easy too, perfect for a week night. We’ve based this on a recipe from the BBC food website – a great place to go for inspiration if you have a few ingredients you want to use.

Here’s what you’ll need for two people:

  • 2 120g tins of sardines in olive oil
  • 1 orange
  • 1-2 tsp harissa (depending on taste – and how strong your harissa is)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 200 g couscous
  • Small handful of gently toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • Sprinkle of fresh coriander (optional)

Start off by splitting the sardines down the spine, and taking out the big bones – don’t worry if they fall apart a bit. Now coat them in a mixture of plain flour and paprika, we find it’s easier if you sift together the two and then coat each piece of sardine separately. The flour will make the sauce go thick and silky smooth, and the paprika is just delicious…

Coat the sardines well, but don't worry about total coverage!
Coat the sardines well, but don’t worry about total coverage

When this is all ready, mix together the zest and juice of the orange, the harissa and the leftover oil from one of your tins of sardines. At this point you’ll probably want to put your couscous on to cook (as per packet instructions), as the rest of the cooking happens rather fast! Put a little of the leftover oil from the other tin of sardines into a frying pan on a medium-high heat, and add the flour-coated sardines. Fry until the flour has lost most of its colour – this should take about 2 minutes – then add the orange & harissa mix and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Not the prettiest dish but it is SCRUMMY!
Not the prettiest dish but it is SCRUMMY!

Serve the sardines over the couscous, and optionally top with the pine nuts and coriander – we didn’t have any fresh coriander to hand when we cooked this but it adds a really nice fresh flavour to the dish.

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