Aside from making a healthy meal, they are delicious and easy to prepare, writes David Tanis
Most important, they are extremely delicious.
SIMPLE GRILLED SARDINES
8 fresh sardines, cleaned and scaled
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and very finely sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
Step 1: Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or stovetop grill pan.
Step 2: Season sardines inside and out with salt and pepper and paint both sides lightly with olive oil.
Step 3: Lay sardines on the grill and cook them on one side for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned (sardines rarely stick to the grill). Carefully flip sardines and cook for about 2 minutes more, until just done.
Step 4: Transfer each portion to individual plates. Put the sliced fennel in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dress with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Place a pile of dressed fennel evenly on each plate. Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of parsley.
In June, I was in Lisbon, Portugal, for the Feast of St. Anthony, traditionally the opening of sardine season there.
In Alfama, an old part of town, a huge street fair heralds its arrival, and grills are set up on every corner.
With the sardines, most people drank cold lager. But if you prefer wine, you have great options.
Manzanilla sherry would be wonderful. So would many cold, dry white wines, especially from seafood areas.
The key is crisp acidity, which cuts through the oiliness of the fish. A good sauvignon blanc would also be nice. – New York Times
Grilled sardines on a fig leaf, served with a simple sliced fennel salad. Picture: New York Times