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Baked Sardines in Pepperonata

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.

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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 Pepperonata
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine
2 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 chopped
1/4 of a red onion
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped finely
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grund black pepper
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped (roughly 1/4 cup)
Step 1: Purchase sardines pre-prepared or gut and debone them and set aside.
Step 2: Purchase roasted red peppers in a jar or whip up batch yourself.
Step 3: Finely chop the onion and garlic and place in a pan with the olive oil. Sauté until the onions are translucent then add all of the tomato paste.
Step 4: When the tomato paste darkens a little bit add salt, pepper, white wine and vinegar. Stir everything together quickly so the wine and vinegar do not evaporate from the heat of the pan. Keep stirring and let cook together for about 2 minutes.
Step 5: Add the roast pepper, capers, parsley, and oregano to the tomato mixture. Cook everything together for about 5 minutes then transfer it all to a small shallow baking pan.
Step 6: Thoroughly season the sardines with salt and pepper inside and out then place into the pepperonata sauce in the baking pan.
Step 7: Bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until the sardines aree slightly browned.
Enjoy with bread, crackers or alone. Make sure you eat the sardines with the red sauce. Yum.


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