It’s kinda funny that in the Caribbean we quickly reach of a can of sardines more often than taking advantage of the abundance of fresh sardines from the Caribbean sea. It’s probably a convenience thing, plus if you ever had to clean sardines you’d know that it’s a bit time consuming (and smelly). Admittedly I’m a HUGE fan of tin sardines.. done with thinly sliced onion, tomato and scotch bonnet peppers.. with a bit of freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
1 lb sardines
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic
3-5 birds eye pepper
* If doing this recipe gluten free be sure to go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Finely chop the scallions, garlic and parsley. If you’re concerned about the raw heat from the bird’s eye pepper (say bird pepper in the Caribbean), you can leave them whole and the natural oils from the skin will be released as they roast in the oven.
Try to get the people at your fish market to clean and gut your sardines.. or be prepared for a bit of a mess as you scale and remove the innards. Rinse with lemon juice and cool water and drain dry. Then cut two shallow slits at the thickest parts of the belly (both sides). This will help the flavors to really penetrate.
Drizzle a bit of the olive oil on the bottom of your roasting pan, then place the sardines and go in with the other ingredients. Mix well. Top with the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil. I like placing a few slices of lemon between the fish as well. Allow this to marinate for about 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 and then place the baking pan on the middle rack. Roast for 10 minutes.
To really intensify the flavors, I then crank up the oven’s heat to ‘broil’.. which is about 500 F and give it another 4-5 minutes. Then get ready to enjoy an amazing gluten free, fish dish unlike the canned stuff we normally reach for.
You can certainly do these on your grill, or if you wanted you can even dust then in flour and fry in vegetable oil until crisp. Remember if you’re doing the fried version it will NOT be gluten free, unless you use a gluten free flour.