I went to the store to get some chicken wings for the big game this Sunday and I found fresh sardines in the fish case. I had a recipe pinned to my refrigerator for a good part of the last year just waiting for this very random occasion.
"Is this a sardine?" said the helper clerk at my local natural foods market. "Sure is!" I said exuberantly. "What do you do with them?" he asked. "You make Spanish food." I replied. Specifically, you hope and pray you have all the auxiliary ingredients for the recipe on your fridge for sardines in pepperonata just lying around.
I did. From my herb garden, pantry and the forgotten realms of the pickled things graveyard in the back of the fridge.
You start the recipe either by confirming you have a jar of roasted red peppers or roasting them yourself. I always keep a jar on hand so I skipped that step and moved right on to chopping the garlic and onion.
As these were sautéing with the tomato paste above I moved on to preparing my little silver friends.
If you notice in this photo the fishies are quite whole and intact with all of the treasure within their stomachs awaiting my liberation. Many years have past since I even pretended to gut a fish so this was going to be fun.
Also according to the recipe I needed to ask my "butcher" to remove the backbone. Above is my sink art resulting from the fun times. Ew. But it was all going to be worth it.
Meanwhile, in the pan I placed the roasted peppers, capers, parsley and oregano with the tomato paste mixture and stirred everything up.
Then preheated the oven and arranged everything for baking.
30 minutes later had baked sardines in pepperonata.
Baked Sardines in PepperonataAdapted from Bon Appetit magazine2 large(ish) fresh sardines (pre-cleaned and deboned by self or butcher)1 large roasted red pepper (homemade or from a jar) roughly one cup chopped1/4 of a red onion2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped1/4 cup olive oil1/4 cup white wine1/4 cup white wine vinegar2 tbsp tomato paste2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped finely1/2 tsp oregano1/2 tsp salt1 tsp freshly grund black pepper1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped (roughly 1/4 cup)