Photo by Mira Zaki


2 pounds fresh sardines, filleted
1 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 red bell peppers
1/4 cup fish stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped chervil or parsley

Recipe notes: You can have your fishmonger fillet the fish for you.


Grilled Sardines with Roasted Red Peppers and Lemon Vinaigrette

Peter Woolsey

Bistrot La Minette, Philadelphia

When making this flavorful dish, Peter Woolsey uses fresh wild sardines from the coast of Portugal. Any fresh sardines you can find will be a vast improvement over those that come in a can.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


Lay the sardine fillets on a plate and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat the red peppers in 1/4 cup olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flesh is soft but not browned. When the peppers are done roasting, place them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for 15 minutes. When cool, remove the peppers’ skins, seeds, ribs, and stems. Cut the peppers into 1-inch strips.

In a small pan, bring the fish stock to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, until reduced by half. (You should have 2 tablespoons of reduced stock.) Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk together the reduced fish stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the sardine fillets just until cooked though, about 3 minutes each side.

To serve, arrange a few fillets and pepper strips on a serving plate. Drizzle with lemon vinaigrette and finish with the herbs. Repeat for the remaining serving plates. You can also serve the dish family style: arrange all of the peppers on a plate and top with the sardines. Drizzle with vinaigrette and finish with herbs.