Sunday, December 27, 2015

Stuffed Sardines with Pesto

   Sardines happen to be the cleanest and the healthiest seafood available; they contain the lowest amount of mercury and the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids. This dish is a powerful inflammation fighter and contains plenty of other benefits for your longevity.

   4 servings
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 cup coarse corn grits (cornmeal)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, soaked in water and chopped

12 medium fresh whole sardines
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Heart Spice Blend, (cinnamon, fennel, clove, star anise, white pepper, parsley, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Small handful (about 1 ounce) fresh basil leaves
Small handful (about 1 ounce) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
⅓ cup olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish

   1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
   2. To make the stuffing, heat the grapeseed oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the grits and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Stir in the cranberries, remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature.
   3. To prepare the sardines, slit each sardine along the belly with a sharp knife and carefully remove the spine; wash and pat the sardines dry. Fill the sardine cavities with the stuffing and transfer them to a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the sardines and sprinkle some herb seasoning over each one. Bake until the fish is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the Heart Spice Blend 1 minute before removing from the oven. Remove from the oven and let stand about 5 minutes before serving.
   4. Meanwhile, to make the pesto, put the basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
   5. Transfer the sardines to a serving dish and drizzle the pesto over them. Garnish with lemon wedges.

   With their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, sardines protect your heart and brain health. They are also high in phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, all of which help support your bone health and regulate blood pressure. Small fish like sardines tend to have lower levels of mercury, so they are a smart choice for your health.

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