- 1 kg rock salt
- 2 kg frozen Portuguese sardines, thawed
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 red capsicum, chargrilled
- 1 green capsicum, chargrilled
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven very hot 200–220°C. In a large baking dish spread a thick layer of rock salt so the base is well covered.
Wipe the sardines with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Pack sardines tightly side by side until they fill the baking dish.
Cover with 1 cm thick layer of rock salt and bake for 15 minutes. Check they’re cooked by uncovering one sardine and putting a knife in behind the head to test the flesh. When they’re cooked, put rubber gloves on and scoop the top layer of salt off the sardines. Gently remove each sardine while it's still hot and slip skin off – the fat under the skin and thick skin mean this is an easy process.
Once sardines have been skinned, remove the backbone and heads so you have perfect fillets. Place on a platter and drizzle with good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Cut capsicum into strips and drape over the sardines. Mix crushed garlic through the sardines and capsicum and serve with crusty bread and a glass of wine.