Prepare the sardines. If they are small, you only have to remove the head, tail, and scales. The ones shown in the photo above were filleted.
Soak the sardines from Step 1 in the salted water for 2 hours.
Remove the seeds from the chili pepper, before slicing it into thin rounds. Slice the garlic. Crush the pepper pods.
Remove the sardines in Step 2 from the water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Add Steps 3 + 4 to a pot and pour in the olive oil until the sardines are covered.
Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Cook over low heat so that the sardines don't move around.
Pour into a jar to store. The sardines will fall apart easily, so handle them with care. You can eat them right away, but if you wait 2-3 days the flavors will blend and make it even more delicious.
Story Behind this Recipe
I was told how to make this from a shop that always has delicious homemade oil sardines.
These also taste good if you add thyme or basil. Add your favorite herbs and adjust the amount of garlic, chili pepper, and pepper to your tastes. Olive oil is kind of strong, so you can use soybean oil or vegetable oil if you prefer. You can also add the oil from this recipe to pasta or salad, or even stir-fries. They will store in the refrigerator for 1 month, but please try to eat them quickly. Store in the freezer.