Yield: 4 servings
Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Sarde in Tortiera is a dish from the Campania region of Italy. The combination of sardines and potatoes is much reflective of the old times “Cucina Povera” (the poor’s kitchen). Simple and cheap ingredients turned into a much satisfying meal. I ask my fishmonger to clean the sardines which he grudgingly does as I am a good customer. Otherwise, it’s tedious work. Leaving the sardines pretty tails above the casserole’s top gives a very attractive look to an otherwise humble dish.
Serve with grilled vegetables on the side and lots of fresh bread to mop up the delicious olive oil trenched sauce.
- 1 1/4 lbs (560 g) potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/5 inch (1/2 cm) rounds
- 1 lb (450 g) egg tomatoes, skinned and sliced into 1/5 inch (1/2 cm) rounds
- 1 1/4 (560 g) pounds sardines, cleaned, heads and backbones removed, tails left intact
- 8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp mixed herbs, like parsley, thyme, and oregano
- 1/2 untreated lemon rind, grated
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Add potatoes and cook until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. When potatoes are cool to handle, slice them into 1/5 inch (1/2 cm) rounds.
While potatoes are cooling, wash sardines and place them on paper towels. Press them down like an open book so they are flat.
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute garlic until soft. Remove from heat, add mixed herbs and the lemon rind. Give it a stir. You should have a spreadable paste. Add more olive if necessary. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
Oil a baking dish and arrange potato and tomatoes in layers. Dot and spread each layer with the garlic- herb mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Arrange sardines on top of it making sure that tails show off. Give it another olive oil drizzle. Salt and pepper, if desired. Beat eggs with the Parmesan and remaining olive oil and pour it over the potato-sardine casserole. Bake it for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.