Sardines with eggplant and tomato ragout

Many a member of our team has sampled the delightful fare at Napier’s Mission Estate. However, as we can’t all head down to the Hawkes Bay every month, here’s a tempting taster of what awaits us when we next make it our mission to visit the Mission.

Recipe Sardines with eggplant and tomato ragout

Ingredients

• 100 gms black olives finely chopped
• 10 fresh medium tomatoes
• 2 cloves garlic – crushed
• Handful of fresh rosemary and thyme
• 100 gms canned tomatoes
• 1 eggplant cut in half, rubbed with salt (helps remove bitterness)
• Good quality olive oil (extra virgin olive oil – we use Village Press)
• Good quality balsamic vinegar
• Salt and pepper
• 1 bunch basil
• 4 whole sardines, filleted (ask your fish supplier)
• 1 lemon

Method

Tomato Ragout
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Blanch tomatoes for four seconds and refresh in cold water before peeling. To make the dried tomatoes, peel, deseed and quarter tomatoes, mix
with garlic and a generous amount of rosemary and thyme. Place on a pre-lined roasting tray in the oven at 80 degrees C for one hour.

Combine dried and tinned tomatoes in a deep saucepan and simmer for around 25 minutes to reduce to a ragout consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Eggplant
Increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees C and, in a pre-lined roasting tray, rub the eggplant with rosemary and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes until soft, while still retaining its shape.

Remove the eggplant flesh from skins, place into a bowl and mash lightly to form a textured purée. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil and sauté the sardines. Drain on kitchen paper, and dress with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Assembly
Divide the tomato ragout amongst the plates and set the sardines on top. Top with quenelles of eggplant, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and scatter with freshly chopped basil and chopped olives.

• Wine Match – Mission Estate 2016 Chardonnay or Jewelstone Chardonnay 2016