“This dish is straight out of my childhood. I can remember special times when Hilda and Mr. John (my parents) would grill sardines with olive oil and set out lots of crusty Portuguese bread for serving. Yum! Wish I were 10 again.” —Emeril Lagasse
(Makes 4 servings)
- 12-16 fresh whole sardines (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), scaled, cleaned, and rinsed
- 2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (from about 1 pound tomatoes)
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, sliced into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
- 4 Roma tomatoes (about 1 pound), halved
Lay sardines side by side on clean, dry kitchen towel or on paper towels, and gently roll together into cylinder to remove excess moisture. Refrigerate until ready to use. (It is very important that sardines are sufficiently dry before oiling, seasoning, and grilling.)
Preheat very clean, well-oiled grill or broiler to high.
In medium mixing bowl, combine diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, and olives, parsley, basil onion, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve sardines.
Transfer sardines to small, rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over them. Turn sardines in oil to coat them. Oil grill grate one more time before cooking. Season sardines on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place them directly on grill and cook, undisturbed, until skin is crispy and lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. (If you try to turn fish to soon, they will stick to the grill. Be patient here and fish will turn easily once skin has crisped.)
While fish are cooking, brush lemon slices and tomato halves lightly with remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Season them with sea salt and black pepper to taste, and place them on the grill. Grill until softened and nicely marked on both sides, about 2 minutes.
Arrange grilled sardines on serving platter, season them a final time with sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately, with grilled tomato halves, grilled lemon slices, and tomato-olive vinaigrette spooned over all.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc..