Pan-fried Sardines with Ratatouille and Raisin Walnut Polenta
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Mike Baron of South Elgin worked with sardines, chick peas, fennel and golden raisins to creat a ratatouille, fried sardines, grilled polenta with walnuts, cheese and golden raisins.
Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer
1 small eggplant, diced, about 2 cups
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
2 stems fresh rosemary or pinch of dried
4 stems fresh thyme or a pinch of dried
2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup fennel, chopped
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup canned chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tins (3.75 ounces each) King Oscar Sardines
Raisin Walnut Polenta (recipe below)
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Place diced eggplant in bowl, lightly sprinkle with salt and set aside.
In a large frying pan (one large enough to hold all ingredients), heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add half of the chopped garlic, half the rosemary and half the thyme. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until skin starts to blister, about 5 minutes.
Transfer tomatoes to a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and lightly coated with cooking spray. Drain any liquid from eggplant and add to tomatoes. Arrange tomatoes and eggplant in a single layer and place in the oven.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to frying pan and heat on high. To this add remaining garlic, onion and herbs; saute until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium, add fennel and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add squash and saute for 2 minutes, then add the zucchini and continue to cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove tomatoes and eggplant from oven and add to frying pan along with chickpeas. Stir together. Adjust heat to low and continue to cook. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Heat a grill pan on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut two 4-by-4-inch squares from polenta, lightly spray grill pan and add polenta squares, cooking 4 to 5 minutes, turning once.
While polenta cooks, prep the sardines by draining oil from can and patting dry with paper towel, being careful not to break filets.
Divide ratatouille among 4 plates, remove polenta from grill pan and cut each in half on the diagonal and add to plates.
Place sardines on grill pan and lower heat to medium cook 2 minutes per side. When done add equal amounts to each plate and serve.
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