Saturday, 14 September 2013

Char-grilled Sardines on Barley and Spinach with Tomato Chutney

I'm trying to use up foods from our store-cupboard before we move to Australia and found this packet of pearl barley which I have been avoiding for months.

When I bought it, I was actually trying to buy millet, which is supposed to be amazing for fertility, but I guess they were out and put the barley on the shelf above the millet label.  I hate it when they do that.

I should really read the labels on things before I put them in my basket.

With the veggie box this week we got spinach and tomatoes, which I love and I ordered some fresh sardine fillets because they were on special.  I knew those ingredients would go well together, but it took me a while to figure out exactly how.

This meal was inspired by a recipe for Smoky Griddled Sardines with Sweet Tomato Chutney at Delicious Magazine.  For the chutney, I used loads of ginger, omitted the oil, sugar and salt and didn't discard the tomato seeds or measure anything.  Who has the time for that?  The chutney turned out just fine.

Fertility Focus
Sardines are full of essential fatty acids, vitamin D and a food source of coenzyme Q10 which aids mitochondrial function
Spinach is rich in ironfolic acid and vitamin K
Tomatoes are full of the antioxidant lycopene which boosts sperm health and also contain folate, B6, vitamin A and vitamin E
Ginger promotes blood circulation and proper digestion in which the body absorbs the nutrients in foods
Home made Chicken Stock (I follow the same method as Naturally Knocked Up and keep it in the freezer) is recommended for nurturing fertility in TCM

  • Fresh sardines - I used fillets because that is what I had, but the original recipe suggests whole ones
  • Coconut oil
  • Smoked paprika
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 cup pearl barley, pre-soaked, rinsed and drained
  • Chicken stock
  • Fresh spinach
For the tomato chutney
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Root ginger
  • Garlic
  • Balsamic vinegar
Simmer the barley and an equal amount of chicken stock covered in a large pot (I use my wok) for approx 30 minutes over a low heat until the barley is cooked and the stock is nearly completely absorbed.  You may need to add more stock/water.  

Finely chop the onion, ginger and garlic.  Sweat over a low heat in a small pan. Scald and peel the tomatoes.  Chop into large chunks and add to the pan. Splash in some balsamic vinegar.  Cover and gently simmer until tomatoes are softened.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a shallow bowl (I did it over the tomato chutney).  Add a dash of soy sauce.  Sprinkle in paprika powder until you have a runny paste.

Wash the sardine fillets to make sure the scales have all been removed and pat dry with paper towels.  

When the barley is nearly done, roughly chop the spinach and mix into the barley.  Cover and allow to wilt while you cook the sardines, stirring occasionally.

Heat a griddle pan on a medium flame.  Dredge each sardine fillet through the paprika paste so they're covered on both sides and cook skin side down for 2-3 minutes until charred.  Turn off the heat and turn the fillets.

Serve the sardines on the barley/spinach mix topped with warm tomato chutney.  

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