July 26, 2004
Grilled Sardines

Shiny shiny fish
Wow. I have found the dish of my dreams, the perfect meal. It's so simple it almost doesn't deserve the name "recipe". It's what I should have made for the Is My Blog Burning? event but I was afraid the dinner guests might not share my enthusiasm for grilled fish. Also, let's be honest: you always want to show off with something fancy for the IMBB? which is a shame because this dish is the proof that simplicity and good products can outshine just about any elaborate recipe. And when you look at these shimmering silver fish, you know you have a good start.

Grilled Sardines

Take 4-6 fresh sardines per person (depending on how hungry you are and the size of the fish) and gut them. Okay, this sounds awful but actually it's pretty easy and I did eight of them in about five minutes. All you need to do is make a slit in the belly of the little fish and pull out all the goo. Rinse the fish, inside and out, under running water and put on a plate. It all comes out easily and will fascinate your cat, if you have one.

Dribble a little olive oil on the fish and then sprinkle with lots of thyme. (I had a plant that died from underwatering and just shook it over the fish - worked great!)

sardines with thyme.jpg

Heat the grill. In the meantime, slice a medium zucchini in thick wedges (about 3/4 inch or 1 cm). Toss them with oil and a little pepper. Once the grill is hot put the zucchini slices on it to start grilling. When one side is done, turn them over and put the fish on the grill. They will cook very quickly - after two minutes turn them over.

Wash a handful of baby tomatoes (fresh from our terrace!) and toss them with olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately on his and hers plates: his with tomatoes, zucchini, fish and hot peppers and hers with tomatoes, olives, zucchini and fish.

Oh and you will surely notice the baked potatoes in my photos: I put some potatoes in the oven about 40 minutes before starting the rest of the dinner and finished them off on the grill.

Aside from starting the potatoes in the oven, the whole dinner took about 20 minutes from start to finish, including all the running back to the kitchen for forgotten items like salt and napkins. And the fish are delicious. You don't have to worry about deboning them as the flesh pulls away from the bones easily. You may end up eating a few small bones but they are like kipper bones: tiny and not lethal. The skin on the fish chars slightly and gives a smoky flavour to the meat and sardines are oily enough that it all remains nice and moist. This is seriously good food: I wished I had made twice as many when it came time to eat and kept going "mmmm" as I was shoveling them down. Even the Critic (who is extremely opposed to working for his food) agreed that they were good. So, too late for the Grilling Is My Blog Burning? you have my entry for Favourite Thing To Grill. Yum!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at July 26, 2004 12:30 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
Comments

I love grilled sardines. I've eaten them in Europe but too bad we can't get fresh ones in Singapore.

Posted by umami on July 26, 2004 at 10:30 PM

Don't forget sardines are one of those mega-Omega-3 fatty acid fish. They're not only tasty, but good for you.

Posted by Barrett on July 27, 2004 at 9:44 AM

Yet another reason to have them again this weekend. Heaven on a plate!

Posted by Meg in Paris on July 28, 2004 at 9:46 AM

lovely! i've been eyeing some beautiful, fresh sardines at my local fish market but didn't know how i'd prepare them... thanks for the great idea!

Posted by claudine on July 29, 2004 at 6:58 PM

Thanks! Let me know how they turn out!

Posted by Meg in Paris on July 30, 2004 at 5:13 AM

Sardines. What can one say but heaven on a plate.
Just had a belly full in Toronto Canada. Nearly as good as the first I had in Portimao Portugal.
Living in Florida I cant find any place with sardines so travel is the only option.

Posted by Barry Kinsella on March 16, 2005 at 10:10 AM

Having been to Portugal many times, I thought I was the only American who knew about this wonder fish. Too bad they're hard to find fresh in the States!

Posted by john on April 30, 2005 at 10:09 PM

Some advise about sardines from a portuguese girl:
yes, they are one of the best meal you can have, but Portugal have a lot more to give;
turn back to the sardines: you don´t have to slit in the belly of the little fish and pull out all the goo, because the goo is not eatable, but give a delicious taste to the sardines; if you couldn't have them fresh, you can use the frozen ones, if you can find; in this case, they go to the grill still frozen, and you just put a little bit of salt when it start to unfrozen, and it is so good as if they are fresh from the sea!!
Bom apetite, as we say at Portugal!!

Posted by Tânia on May 19, 2005 at 1:08 PM

Tânia, thanks for the Portuguese input. Next time I make them I'll try leaving the "goo" on the inside - I like anything that makes less work and if it adds flavour that's even better!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 19, 2005 at 1:13 PM

Mmmm.... I have been to one Japanese restoraunt and taste this meal. I liked it very much! Thanks!!!

Posted by John C. on June 26, 2005 at 3:44 PM

I'VE BEEN EATING SARDINES FOR DECADES - BUT THEN I'M
FROM MAINE, USA. OF COURSE, AFTER YOU CLEAN THEM,
THERE AIN'T MUCH LEFT. THE LAST TIME I ATE A PLATE FULL, ONE JUMPED UP AND BIT MY NOSE. IT WASN'T UNTIL
AFTER I FINISHED THE REST THAT I NOTICED IT - JUST GOESTO SHOW YOU HOW SMALL THEY CAN BE. SO, THE
POINT IS, JUST BECAREFUL WITH YOUR FOOD, AS WITH SO
MANY THINGS IN LIFE. BETTER TO BE BITTEN BY A SARDINE
THAN TO GET A CARROT STUCK IN YOU NOSE.

Posted by on November 18, 2005 at 9:38 AM

To the poster from Maine -

THANK YOU FOR READING THE SITE, BUT COULD YOU PLEASE TURN DOWN YOUR RADIO?!

Posted by barrett on November 18, 2005 at 9:49 AM

hi,i born in a country surrounded by two ocean the atlantic and the meditiranian
(morocco) and i ate sardines all my life,
at least twice a week but it stoped sincei moved to the state 10 years ago, now i eat it just when i go back for vacation i leave
in florida but i can find where they sale it fresh,i have lot of recipes but i just need help thanks my email adress is sacridystal@aol.com

Posted by said belaid on May 23, 2006 at 1:51 AM

Hi,

If anyone's from Atlanta or nearby you can get them fresh at the Dekalb Farmer's Market. This will be my first time cooking them fresh, I've only had canned. Thus my reason for coming to the site for recipes.

Posted by mbutterfly on March 16, 2007 at 4:33 PM

I did camp one summer by the shores of Algiers, North Africa. All we ate those two weeks was grilled sardines, water melon, goat cheese, green olives and red wine. Man, that was Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

Posted by Omar Sail on July 22, 2007 at 7:02 PM

I had grilled sardines for the first time in Cannes last month, and I'm still daydreaming about them. (Although when they say grilled, they meant grilled in a broiler, not on a charcoal grill.) We ate some pretty incredible meals while we were there, but the sardines were the simplest and the best, and absolutely smashing with the crisp, dry roses. Must get to the fishmarket...

Posted by Jess on July 26, 2007 at 3:11 PM

@mbutterfly thanks for the suggestion about DeKalb Farmer's Market in Atlanta. I was wondering if they had them there. I had them in Barcelona last year and simply feel in love with them. Grew up on canned sardines and the fresh well there's just no comparison. Thanks for the receipes. With Thanksgiving coming soon this will come in handy

Posted by travelinfool on November 8, 2014 at 9:20 PM
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