"That’s a fine pasticcio you got me into,’ one Roman might say to another. It is the name given to dishes made up of jumbled up ingredients, in this case it is sardines, herbs and breadcrumbs, and it is made by our friend Anna Davies, a Roman resident since her youth when she moved to Rome as a dancer. Anna has championed her versions of Roman classics for her family that can be made quickly and suit all tastes. I love this combination of sweet onions, salty fish and crunchy breadcrumbs, and it’s become one of our family favourites back home" Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, caldesi.com
Serves 6 (as a starter or 4 as a main)
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh sardines
1 white onion, finely sliced into semi-circles
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive
oil, plus extra for drizzling
100 g (31/2 oz) slightly stale white crusty bread
200 ml (7 fl oz) milk
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
Wash, scale and gut the fish, removing their heads, fins and spines. Open them out like a butterfly and pat dry. Set aside. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 6). Fry the onions over a low heat in the oil with the seasoning for around 5 minutes until just soft but not coloured. Remove
from the heat when they are done.
In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk for a couple of minutes, then squeeze out the milk gently breaking up the bread into small pieces; set aside. In an ovenproof dish measuring around 30 x 20 cm (12 x 8 in) layer a third of the onions onto the base. Scatter over a third of the bread, parsley and garlic. Put a third of the sardines on top and season well. Squeeze over a little of the lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat for 2 more layers finishing with the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the top is crusty and golden brown. Serve warm with a green salad .
Rome by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi
Published by Hardie Grant. Find more at cooked.com