Lucky me. I just returned from a wonderful trip to Portugal. The food was spectacular and one item that was on just about every menu, and one that we consumed on many occasions, was fresh, grilled sardines.
One of the world’s healthiest foods, sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are known to promote cardiovascular health. And, unlike many other forms of seafood, they are extremely low in mercury.
Although best enjoyed fresh off the grill with a cold beer (preferably on a beach in Portugal), you can also enjoy this healthy treat in your own backyard.
Look for fresh sardines with bright eyes and shiny skin. They should be firm and smell fresh, not fishy. Make sure that they are gutted and cleaned and the heads are left on.
Rinse the fish well and pat dry.
Place them in a colander, give them a gentle sprinkle of coarse salt and let them sit for 30 minutes.
Heat your grill to high. Splash the sardines with olive oil and more coarse salt.
Grill the fish for three minutes on each side, until they are firm and have perfect grill marks.
Serve hot with a grind or two of fresh ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Simple and delicious, these make a perfect appetizer or main course, when paired with a simple salad, boiled potatoes and roasted bell peppers and onions. As they say in Portugal, Bom Apetite!