Sardine Salad with Feta and Bulgur

You’ll notice that yes, this recipe is a whole lot like the last one. The last one, Sardines with chick peas and feta, is more Mediterranean, this variation is more Turkish, Persian. We are swapping out the chick peas for a good portion of bulgur wheat. Pack this with a cold-pac and it travels well… it is picnic season as I’ve mentioned previously.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 to 3 cans of sardine fillets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground cornmeal (or substitute equal amount flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups course bulgur wheat
  • 2/3 cup diced, seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced black olives
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

First, let’s get the bulgur wheat going. To prepare the bulgur, take one and a half cups of strongly boiling water into a heavy glass bowl, then add the bulgur and two or three tablespoons of olive oil and a juice of half a lemon. Stir together and let stand for about fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s just like making French-style couscous.

Carefully lay sardine fillets out on a towel and pat dry. Make coating by combining flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the bulgur wheat mixture, cucumber, feta, olives, lemon zest and the other half of the lemon’s juice, mint and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange equal parts of salad base on six plates.

Dredge sardines through flour mixture and set aside, ready to be fried. Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat in a fry-pan large enough to accommodate the sardines in one or two batches. When barely smoking, carefully lay in sardines, working in two batches if necessary to avoid crowding. Sizzle fish in oil about 30 seconds on each side then carefully transfer back to dry towel to drain. Now, a word of caution here, make sure the pan is hot. This prevents the extremely delicate fillets from sticking.

Stack the fillets on top of each salad and sprinkle with a pinch of chopped chives and a few cracks of black pepper. And yes, this still goes well with a Duck Walk white.