Grilled Washington Sardine with dill-caper potato salad

This summer dish is a perfect way to use the fresh local sardines that are available from late June through September here in Seattle….in fact it is currently on the menu at Cafe Presse (summer 2014).  Fresh sardines are not only very good for you, during the season they are also very inexpensive.

While on could sardines preserved in olive oil for this recipe, the effect is totally different, less intensely fresh.

This recipe feeds 2 as a hearty appetizer or a light supper.



  • 2 whole sardines (each about 6 to 8 ounces)
  • 1lb red potatoes (small)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 Walla Walla sweet onion (small)
  • 2 Eggs (hard boiled, cooled and peeled)


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot (small)
  • 1 clove garlic (small)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons Grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup soy oil (approximate)
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)


1. Cut and scale the sardines. Wash them well in cold water inside and out. Pat dry with a paper towel. Chop the dill roughly. Peel and finely slice the Walla Walla onion. If you are using capers packed in salt, soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain.
2. Wash the potatoes well. Put in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender when pieced with a small knife.
3. Peel the shallot and garlic. Remove the germ from the garlic. In the blender, combine the shallot, garlic, wine vinegar, two mustards, honey, a pinch of salt and a big grind of black pepper. With the blender running, emulsify with the soy oil. Check seasoning and balance and adjust as needed.
4. When the potatoes are done cooking, drain well in a colander. Toss while still warm with some of the vinaigrette, salt an pepper
5. Season the sardine with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Put the sardine on a hot grill and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until the skin is crispy and the flesh flakes a little when pushed with a knife. Remove from the grill and keep warm.
6. Chop the hard boiled eggs roughly. Toss the marinated potatoes with the Walla Walla onions, capers, dill and chopped egg. Add more vinaigrette if needed and salt and pepper to taste. Divide onto two plates.
7. Put a hot sardine on each bed of potatoes. Serve immediately with extra vinaigrette, a crusty baguette and plenty of chilled rose.
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