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.


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


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.


4 to 6 servings