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[Photograph: Marvin Gapultos]

For Marvin Gapultos, canned sardines in tomato sauce were the ultimate bachelor comfort food. These days, however, he has ditched the can for a fresh version featured in his new cookbook, The Adobo Road. His sauce is a perfect example of the melting pot of culinary influences in the Philippines: tomatoes from the Americas, smoked paprika and white wine from Spain, and fish sauce and calamansi lime juice from Southeast Asia. Fresh sardines quickly broiled atop the fragrant sauce are a step above the canned variety and just as effortless to prepare.

Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't resist the unique (and easy) sauce, and the sardines make it a full meal.

What worked: Everything, from the stovetop sauce simmer to the quick trip under the broiler, was on point.

What didn't: Not a thing.

Suggested tweaks: If sardines aren't your thing, this could work with any small fish or fillet. Shrimp would also work well and would be just as easy. If you can't find calamansi limes, you can substitute lemon juice.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Adobo Road Cookbook to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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