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Grilled sardines with olive soil


Olive soil

  • 2 cups garlic stuffed large green olives
  • 2 cups pitted Kalamata olives


  • 8 sardines (no head, no fins, scaled and gutted)
  • 4 birds eye (peri peri) chilies, seeded
  • 5 longs red chilies, seeds removed
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs basil, leaves finely chopped


Olive soil

1. Pulse the green olives in a food processor until coarsely and evenly chopped. Spread onto a dehydrator rack lined with a thin layer of cheesecloth.

2. Repeat the process with the kalamata olives, keeping them separate from the green.

3. Place both trays in a dehydrator and dry for 12 hours at 150 F (65 C), until mostly but not completely dried (about ¾).  

4. Remove, and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

5. Keeping the colours separated, briefly pulse (no more than 30 seconds) the dried olives in a spice grinder in batches until a coarse ‘soil’ texture is achieved. Reserve at room temperature for serving.


1. In a blender, combine birds eye chilies, long red chilies, bell peppers, onion, garlic, white wine vinegar, paprika, black pepper, and honey. Blend on high speed until smooth.

2. Add the mixture to a small saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flavor of the raw onions has mellowed out. Season with salt.

3. Remove from the heat and let cool, then stir in marjoram and basil before using.

4. Once cool, cover the sardines completely with the marinade. Place in a refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

5. Before serving, heat grill to medium high heat and brush with oil.

6. Grill the sardines for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly charred.

7. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Keep flipping until sardine is completely cooked and nicely charred on both sides.

To serve

1. From top to bottom, over a line of 5 inches, tap green olive soil off the end of a fork to form an interesting pattern.

2. Do the same with the purple olive soil over the green soil without overcrowding it.

3. Leaving 1-2 inches negative space, place a single grilled sardine parallel to the olive.







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