When I hear people say they don’t like sardines due to the strong flavour, it makes me think they probably haven’t eaten them fresh. I’m not a huge fan of tinned sardines myself, as I find they taste overly rich and metallic; with the taste lingering in my mouth long after eating them. Fresh ones are nothing like that and the beauty about them is they’re very easy to prep, cost next to nothing and most of the bones are so fine you can eat them.
For this recipe I’ve taken the typical flavours of Croatia’s Adriatic coastline and mixed them with a handful of sardines I picked up from my local seafood guy. Eight sardines for just over $2. You’ve gotta love that! What I made was an easy and very light and healthy lunch for the two of us at home. The other half even went as far as dunking a thick slice of sourdough bread onto the marinade and grilling it with the sardines. Increase the ingredient quantities if you have more mouths to feed but just make sure there are at least 4 sardines per person, if you’re cooking this as a starter.
Combine the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and capers in a small bowl. Pour this over the sardines, massage gently and set aside for 10 minutes as you heat your grill or barbecue over a high flame.
Lay the sardines on the grill and cook for 2 minutes on one side. Gently turn them over and cook the other side.
To serve, arrange the cooked sardines on a platter. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the olives, capers, parsley and a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot with a salad and bread.