The recipe is pretty easy -- it starts with a simple sauce made of onion (sauteed in olive oil), chopped tomatoes with some of their juices, fennel seeds, orange zest, and salt and pepper. Line the bottom of an oven-proof dish with this.
Next up are the sardines.
Mine were, unfortunately, not dressed, so I got the pleasure of slicing them down the belly, removing the entrails (this is as gross as it sounds) and spine, and rinsing them down.
Butterfly the fish and lay them in the sauce, scattering bread crumbs and more cracked fennel across the top, and then pouring in white wine. Dollop the rest of the sauce on top of the fish and cook for twenty minutes.
Around this time my house began to reek of fish. Truly reek. Sardines have a very very strong odor.
I've gotta say, I did not love this at all. The flavor of the sardines isn't quite my style, and even though I had picked over the pieces very carefully, there were a ton of bones to gently eat around. Glad I tried it, but I won't do this one again.
tomatoes -- $.99
orange -- $1.29 (only used for the zest, I'll eat it with my lunch tomorrow)
sardines -- $8.98
Total Cost of Sardines in a Fennel-Spiked Tomato Sauce: $11.26
($1.88 per serving)