Marinated Fresh Sardines with Bocconcini and Red Bell Pepper Strips

Total Time:
30 min
20 min
10 min

20 bites; 4 to 6 servings

  • 20 marinated fresh sardine fillets, recipe follows
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 20 very small bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), or larger ones cut into pieces
  • Minced fresh parsley leaves, garnish
  • Small capers, drained, garnish
  • Bring the marinated sardine fillets to room temperature while assembling the remaining ingredients.

  • Roast the pepper on an open gas flame, turning frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the pepper can be roasted under a broiler, or on top of a gas or charcoal grill.) Place in a plastic or paper bag, and let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel the pepper, make a slit down 1 side, and open flat. Remove the seeds and the stems. Cut into 20 thin strips.

  • Place the bocconcini balls on a work surface. Wrap each with 1 sardine fillet, then with a red bell pepper strip, and secure with a toothpick. Place on a decorative platter. Drizzle with the sardine fillet marinating oil. Garnish with the chopped parsley and sprinkle with the capers.

  • Serve.

Marinated Sardines:
  • To clean the sardines, with a small sharp knife, remove the heads. Carefully slit open the belly and clean and gut the fish. Grasping the top of the spine, quickly pull to remove. Cut the 2 fillets separate from the tail. Wash under running water and pat dry.

  • Place in a single layer, skin side down, in a large shallow glass dish. Cover with the lemon juice (use more as needed to cover) and salt. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, depending upon their size. (The fish are marinated when they turn almost completely white.)

  • Remove from the lemon juice, rinse and pat dry. Place the fillets in a clean shallow glass dish or platter.

  • In a bowl, whisk together the oil, shallots, parsley, and red pepper. Pour over the sardines, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

  • Yield: 20 fillets, 4 to 6 servings

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes

  • Inactive Prep Time: 4 to 24 hours

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