Grilled sardines recipe

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This mouth-wateringly tasty traditional lightly seasoned fish delicacy always reminds me of the fantastic harbourside fish restaurants all over Portugal. This dish is recognised as the national snack of choice.  Great to impress friends and family!

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 50 Minutes


  • 14 to 18 fresh whole sardines cleaned, scaled and rinsed
  • 1 lb (450 g) peeled, de-seeded, tomatoes – roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup (190 ml) olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) coarsely chopped pitted green olives
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced into (¼”) thick cartwheels
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 4 Italian style bell tomatoes halved
How to Make It
  1. Place the sardine’s side by side on dry paper towels and tenderly roll together into a pipe to remove excess moisture. Set aside and chill until ready to use.
  2. Pre-heat a well-oiled grill tray to the highest temperature.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine diced tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, olives, parsley, basil, coriander, shallot and ginger. Now add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Combine well, then set aside until the sardines are grilled and ready to be served.
  4. Now transfer sardines to a shallow baking tray and sprinkle ¼ cup olive oil over coating the sardines completely. Now season the sardines on both sides with ½ tsp of pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Then place directly on the grill and cook until the skin is crispy and lightly browned. Now turn the sardines over and cook again until crispy and browned.
  5. While the sardines are cooking, coat the tomato halves and lemon slices with remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Add sea salt and black pepper to season, and place on the grill. Cook until soft and nicely seared on both sides.
  6. Finally, add the tomato mixture on a serving dish, arrange the grilled sardines on top and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of lemon juice and remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the grilled tomato halves and grilled lemon slices and serve immediately.

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