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Grilled Marinated Anchovies & Romaine Salad

Of the many ways to use our Estate Meyer Lemon Oil, few are easier, more visually impressive, or more delicious than this one.

If you've never eaten a fresh anchovy, it will be a revelation. The flavor is mild and not at all "fishy" in the sense of the canned type. And they're much larger - two or three per person will satisfy. Fresh anchovies are easy to find in season - which, of course, varies according to where you are. The anchovy population is considered highly sustainable, so you can feel good about eating them when they're available.

This salad is one of the best ways to enjoy them, as all the flavors are clean and subtle. Grilling brings out the best in the fish, and imparts a wonderful earthiness in the lettuce that grounds the whole dish.

This recipe serves four; you can scale it up or down...

  • 8-12 fresh anchovies
  • 2 large or 3 small romaine heads
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup DaVero Meyer lemon olive oil
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tb red wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pimenton, smoked paprika, or chipotle powder
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil for marinating (DaVero 30-weight is perfect)

Scale and gut the anchovies (or get your fish monger to do it for you - they're happy to). Place in a layer in a shallow pan and coat with a light splash of olive oil. Salt and pepper generously.

In a separate shallow pan, assemble the vinaigrette. Zest the lemon into the pan, then add the juice of both the lemon and the orange. Add the pimenton (or substitute), stir in a glug of vinegar, and whisk in the Meyer lemon oil. Taste - you want it to be nicely acidic.

Light your grill. If using gas, set to medium-high. If using charcoal, let the coals reach the white ash stage.

Toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat until light brown; set aside.

Halve the romaine heads lengthwise (including the base, which holds the leaves together). Wash, drain, and pat dry. Place romaine on the hot grill, turning and rotating for a few minutes until the leaves start to wilt (note: some leaves will char; that's ok). Remove from grill and let rest until you need them.

Grill the sardines for a few minutes on each side (they are done when they feel firm to the touch). Remove and place in the vinaigrette pan, spooning it over the fish. Let cool.

Coat the grilled romaine with a splash of Meyer lemon oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange them to form a bed on the serving platter. Place the sardines on top, then scatter the celery and almonds, and drizzle any remaining marinade as a finish.

Dig in! (You can make ahead, but the romaine will lose character after a couple of hours.)

Perfect wine: DaVero Vermentino -- this varietal is native to the coastal areas of Liguria and Tuscany, and the nearby islands, and is simply delicious with seafood.

Posted in Appetizers, Meyer Lemon, Salads