Time: 1 1/2 hours

Serves: Makes 24 pieces

  • 2 pounds small whole sardines, filleted, about 24 pieces
  • 1 orange, unpeeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sherry
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 red bell peppers
  • 11/2 teaspoons sweet paprika, preferably Spanish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced into 24 1-inch circles
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and ground

Cured Sardine Toasts with Red Pepper and Basil

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence Arrange the sardines in a single layer, flesh side down, in a shallow dish. Lay the orange slices on top of the sardines. Mix together the sherry vinegar, sherry, garlic, bay leaves, sugar, salt, and a 4-count of oil. Pour the marinade over the sardines and oranges; cover and let cure in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the broiler. Pull out the tops of the red peppers, then cut them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on a cookie sheet, skinside up, and broil for about 10 minutes to let them really char and blister. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins, then peel. Slice the peppers into 3-inch pieces and toss with the paprika and a 4-count of oil. Season the pepper strips with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush each side of the bread slices with oil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until toasty and golden. To put these beauties together, lay a piece of roasted pepper on each toasted bread slice. Stick a large basil leaf on top. Remove the sardine slices from the orange marinade and slice them in half so they will fit nicely on the toasted bread. Lay the sardines, skinside up, across the basil. Finish it up with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and serve. This truly is the perfect bite!

Edited: October 9th, 2009