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Sardine and Potato Bake

ingredients

serves 4
1 kg (2 lb) potatoes
1 kg (2 lb) sardines, defrosted if frozen
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling
1 onion, chopped
2 - 3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
350 g (12 oz) ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced or 425 g (14 oz) can peeled tomatoes, partly drained and chopped
1 - 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian herbs, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper

method

1. Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes then drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into slices about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick.

2. Gut and clean the sardines: cut off their heads and tails and then slit open the length of the belly. Turn the fish over so the skin is upwards and press firmly along the backbone to loosen the bones. Turn over again and carefully remove the backbone. Wash the fish in cold water, drain well and dry them on paper towels.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft, but not coloured.

4. Arrange the potatoes in a well-oiled ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the onions and then the parsley and plenty of seasoning.

5. Lay the open sardines over the potatoes, skin-side down, then cover with the tomatoes and the rest of the herbs. Pour on the wine and season again.

6. Cook uncovered in a preheated oven, 190°C/180°F/ Gas Mark 5, for about 40 minutes until the fish is tender. If the casserole seems to be drying out, add another couple of tablespoons of wine.

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