Grilled sardines are very simple to prepare, quick to cook and thoroughly delicious to eat. Sardines are not just tasty they are a very healthy food. Sardines are rich in numerous nutrients, in particular they are a great concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins which are recognised as being important for heart and brain health. Sardines are also a rich source of bone-building vitamin D.
Sardines are a small, oily fish, that are in fact just the younger version of the Pilchard, changing their name once they reach two years old. They are usually fished in in the waters around the UK from late June to February when they become widely available. Sardines from around the UK are generally considered to be a sustainable fish. You can check the labels on our counter to see where a particular catch has come from. They are extremely versatile and can be fried, grilled, smoked, salted or cured and as a result are popular in many different cuisines around the world. Our grilled sardines tips below have a definite Mediterranean feel.
Grilled Sardines Cooking Tips
Sardines make a good light supper or alfresco lunch. When the weather is good they cook very well on a hot BBQ. We have some good cooking tips here to ensure you get a good result.
Sardines do have a lot of fine bones so a good way to avoid this is to cook them butterflied, where the spine and most large bones are removed. The good news is that we can do this for you – you can usually find them ready prepared on our counter. Any remaining bones are so small that you can eat them without too much concern.
First drizzle your sardines with olive oil. This will help the seasoning stick to the fillet and prevent the fish from sticking to your grill. Next season well with some chunky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add some extra flavours with some finely chopped garlic also a sprinkle of spicy paprika or if you have it available in your store cupboard some spicy Spanish pimenton picante. Do this for both sides of the fillets.
A little chopped parsley is good and adds some attractive colour variation to your dish.
Pre-heat you grill (or get your charcoal to a white state) before starting to cook. Equally you can cook them in a hot frying pan.
Cook the skin side first to get some attractive crispy skin. They do cook very quickly on a hot grill so they will only need about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Smaller fillets will cook quicker.
You can tell if they are cooked once the flesh is firm, opaque and starts to flake.
Serving Suggestions for Grilled Sardines
Serve your grilled sardines with some lemon wedges, some fresh bread and a green salad. As an oily fish the lemon juice makes a good flavour combination.