Sardines in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Matt and I went to Costco this weekend.  Going there gives me a little anxiety.  There’s just SO MUCH! Of everything!   My small Whole Foods store in Capitol Hill is more my speed.  But to save money on paleo household staples, we took ourselves to Costco.

To be successful at this mega-store, I have to go with a good list.  Otherwise, I find myself wandering the aisles wondering if maybe I really do need 96 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes or two dozen new pairs of socks.   I can’t look to Matt to keep us on track.  He’ll be contemplating if today is the right day to buy a 52 inch flat screen TV.  (It’s not.)

Anyhow, this time we had a list so we managed to get in and out in under hour and stock up on some essentials.  One of the basics that we purchased is a dozen tins of wild caught sardines packed in olive oil.   These little fish are stuffed to the gills with omega-3 oils.  They make an easy protein snack and are perfect to toss into my lunch bag on days when the fridge is bare.

I like to top them with this simple roasted red pepper sauce.  It adds a nice flavor and tones down the extreme fishiness of the fish.

A little tutorial on roasted red peppers.   The best way to roast a pepper is to crank up the grill and let it burn.  When the outside is charred, carefully remove the pepper and place in a paper bag for about 10 minutes.  Pull it out and peel off the blackened skin.  Done!   I recommend this method because you get to sit outside, enjoy the evening and not worry about clean up.

Or you can roast the pepper inside over a gas stove.  Click here to watch a video that I had nothing to do with but I like.  It explains the process in 60 seconds and there’s a catchy little pepper-roasting soundtrack.  The drawback of this method is that your stove gets messy and you have to pay attention the whole time.  No leaving flaming peppers unattended.

Or you can buy roasted red peppers.   This is not as satisfying as charring and peeling your own pepper — but honestly, it tastes just as good and cuts the prep time to almost nothing.

Sardines in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Red pepper, 1

Shallot, 1

Garlic, ½ clove

Olive oil, 1 teaspoon

Coconut milk, 2 tablespoons

Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon

Orange juice, 1 teaspoon

Capers, 1 teaspoon

Salt, 1/8 teaspoon

Crushed red pepper, 1/8 teaspoon or less

Coconut oil, 3 tablespoons

Sardines, 1 can (approximately 6 fish)

  1. Start by roasting your pepper, if needed.  Let it cool then peel off burnt skin.  Roughly chop into pieces.  Set aside.
  2. Dice shallot and garlic.
  3. Add oil, shallot and garlic to small pan. Saute over low/medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer shallot and garlic mixture to the food processor. (Or use hand blender, which is an amazing kitchen tool.)
  5. Add roasted red peppers, coconut milk, lemon juice, orange juice, capers, salt and crushed red pepper.  Blend until smooth.
  6. Open can of sardines.  Filet open each fish down the middle and remove the bones.
  7. Heat up coconut oil in pan over high heat.  When oil is hot, place sardines into pan.
  8. Cook for about 1 minute on each side.  You just want a little fried crunchiness.
  9. Top sardines with a generous amount of sauce.  (The sauce is super tasty, so I usually float the sardines in a pool of red pepper sauce.  I didn’t photograph it that way because it doesn’t look especially classy.)

This is enough to make two appetizers or a perfect afternoon snack