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Marinated Sweet-and-Sour Sardines


3 red peppers (approximately 400g)
250g vine-ripened small tomatoes, stalks removed
6 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 flourishing sprig of rosemary or 2 sprigs of thyme
2 medium red onions (approximately 400g),
peeled and halved and sliced in wedges
2 garlic cloves, preferably new season,
peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
1 large aubergine (approximately 350g),
trimmed, quartered lengthways and thickly sliced
3 medium courgettes (approximately 300g),
trimmed and diagonally sliced, 2cm thick
300g new potatoes, peeled and boiled
lemon olive oil for serving, if possible
1 heaped tbsp shredded basil or young mint leaves


Serves 4

Pre-heat the oven to 425F/220C/gas mark 7. Place the peppers and tomatoes in a bowl and toss with ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Tip them on to a foil-lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and lay the rosemary on top.

By now the oven will be ready. Place the peppers on the top shelf. After 10 minutes, when the skin will be blackening, turn them, and after 5 more minutes, turn again. Put the tomatoes in the oven on a lower shelf. Cook for 10 minutes. Take out the peppers and plunge them into cold water; remove the tomatoes. Peel away the pepper skin and, following the natural lines of the pepper, cut them into chunks, discarding core and pips. Slice into strips and place them on a serving bowl.

Fry the onions in 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium high flame. After 5 minutes, when the onions will have wilted and browned in places, add the garlic and season with salt. Cook for a couple more minutes and add to the bowl. Toss the aubergines in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry until brown on the surface and tender within. Allow 5 minutes for this. Tip into the bowl. Use 1 tablespoon of oil to fry the courgettes until the surfaces are brown and crusted but the inside remains al dente. Use the last of the oil to briefly fry the potatoes until the edges are crusty. Mix everything together, seasoning with salt and plenty of pepper. Tip the tomatoes over the top, douse with 1 tablespoon of lemon olive oil, if using, gently mix in then sprinkle over the basil or mint.

This recipe can be found in 'The Big Red Book of Tomatoes' by Lindsey Bareham, published by Penguin, ISBN: 014026244X, 8.99.
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