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Grilled Sardines

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I've seen a number of menus recently that list Grilled Sardines, usually as an appetizer. I've looked in a lot places for recipes. It seems that this may be a dish that's more common to Portugal than anywhere else. A local Asian market that I frequent has fresh sardines all the time. I'd like to take a shot a making them, either on the grill or in a pan or the oven. I love fish of just about all kinds, but I've never had sardines. Anyone have a good recipe?

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  1. i believe greek's are big on it as well, sorry no recipe though

    1. Grilled sardines are common in Spanish tapas restaurants. I think you only need olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon. Using an aromatic charcoal like mesquite would be nice too.

      1. sardinhas asadas is street food in Portugal especially in june. there are no fancy recipes, really. dry the fish, brush with some oil and grill. sprinkle salt flakes over and devour by the dozen. wash everything down with a vinho verde. oh yeah, do leave heads on. the Portuguese don't even scale sardines before grilling. would be nice if your sardinhas are from Portugal (the fattest and sweetest).

        sardinhas assadas and bacalhau - synonymous with Portugal.

        1. Portuguese sardines are sweet and fatty but the leaner ones can be wonderful,too. A Spanish friend gave us a very simple and easy recipe: clean and scale the sardines, take their heads off and cook in an oven in pan lined with parchment paper. No need to add anything, just salt at the end.
          However, my favourite recipe is from Southern Italy: "Sardine arraganate"( origanate) but you can use fresh anchovies , too and they are equally delicious ( actually better IMO).
          Ingredients

          1 kg. fresh sardines; c.a 300 gr. bread crumbs; 150 gr. pecorino cheese; 1 tbsp chopped parsley ; 1 tbsp dried oregano ( possibly the flowers ); 2 chopped garlic cloves, salt, black pepper.olive oil.
          Mix the breadcrumbs, pecorino, oregano,garlic, salt,pepper and half of the parsley.
          Clean, filet and wash the sardines ( better if you take off the dorsal bones,too); coat an oven cooking pan with olive oil and a base light layer of dressed breadcrumbs.
          Set the sardines one layer at a time covering each layer with breadcrumbs and some olive oil.
          Cook in the oven until well done ( golden).
          I like them quite crisp. If needed, turn them over (like a frittata ) to finish,dress with parsley and enjoy.

          1. The problem is getting good quality sardines. I would think they might be available in larger cities through a good fish monger or through a restaurant that might have connections with a trusted supplier.

            Cooking them is as simple as has been stated by others. We ate our fill at several lunches this past June in beach restaurants the southwest of Portugal. They were all served whole.

            3 Replies
            1. re: collardman

              They're popular all around the Mediterranean. No real recipe required - simply grill or pan-fry them and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, and/or a squeeze of lemon juice, and/or a sprinkle of fresh herbs like oregano or thyme, and/or a dusting of sea salt.

              1. re: BobB

                Wouldn't it be a waste of good EVO if you're going to grill it? I know that high temp in the kitchen wipes away the nuances of good EVO, and wouldn't high grill temp do the same thing?

                1. re: hobbess

                  I was suggesting a drizzle after cooking, not before.

            2. Fresh and simply cooked for me - preferably cooked over charcoal in an Andalucian chiringuito (although I'm very happy with locally caught and cooked ones). Salt & squeeze of lemon if I want to fancy them up.

              1. I just sprinkle them whole with coarse salt in a dish and let em soak in there half hour, then i wipe off excess salt and dump em on the charcoal grill... very quick, very tasty, I serve them as appetizers with some boiled potatoes and good bread, plus vinegar, olive oil and hot sauce as condiments....
                For convenience (and kids or new/squeamish guests) I will sometimes clean, scale and empty them (leaving heads on) before the salting.

                Fresh are always just wonderful, but I use frozen all the time as well, very cheap.