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Everyday Seafood is every “sea foodies” dream and is one of my favorite seafood cookbooks. Filled with over a hundred recipes for fish and shellfish it encompasses everything from soups and stews, baked and barbecued fish, salads and dips. I appreciate the Nathan Outlaw’s innovative and creative ideas for unique combinations of flavors like lobster risotto balls with basil and orange mayonnaise, hot marinated lemon sole with pickled onions and grapes and sardine, pepper and shallot flat bread. Below is my abbreviated version of the sardine pizza. I improvised and took some shortcuts, namely I used purchased flat bread instead of making from scratch and I added some mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

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  • 4 oz tin(s) of sardines packed in oil
  • good quality olive oil (or you can use the oil from the sardines)
  • 1 large shallot sliced thin
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more to taste) chopped
  • large red pepper, sliced
  • capers (I prefer the salted kind)
  • sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

I was so excited to try this recipe because I love sardines! Not only are they super healthy for you, rich with Omega 3 fats, they also remind me of my Italian mother who used to pack me sardine sandwiches (with the heads still on) for school lunches.  When everyone else was eating peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwiches I was the exotic one. Fortunately sardines have gained in popularity, especially here in the Monterey Bay, thanks to John Steinbeck and his depiction of the sardine fisheries in his novel  Cannery Row.

Like my mom, I cook by instinct and rarely follow a recipe exactly, which is why the ingredients listed above are approximate. Don’t worry, you can’t make any mistakes. It’s all good. Here’s what to do.

Preheat oven to 425º F. Drizzle some olive oil in a medium-sized saute pan. Cook on medium high and when it’s hot, but not smoking, add the garlic, shallot, pepper and rosemary. Cook until the vegetables soften and reduce heat and cook for another five minutes. Add vinegar and cook until the vinegar has reduced, then add the capers. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir the ribboned basil into the shallot mixture.

You are now ready to make the pizza. Place flatbread on cooking stone or pizza tray. If you don’t have one, a cookie sheet will do.  Then sprinkle with both the cheeses. Top with shallot mixture, spreading out to the edges and arrange the sardines on top. My favorite brand of sardines is Wild Planet because they are scale free and sustainably caught in the North Pacific. In this version I used two different kinds for each pizza, slightly smoked packed in lemon and ones marinated in marinara sauce.

Bake in heated oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with roasted vegetables or a tomato basil salad and a light white wine like Albarino, which always pairs well with seafood. For great selections of fine California wines delivered to your door please visit The California Wine Club. 


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