The sardine is an essential part of the cultural and economic fabric of Portugal due to its abundance and impeccable quality. In summer, the smell of grilled sardines is everywhere. The little yet mighty fish is even the star of a one-month festival in the country’s capital city, Lisbon. — Courtesy "Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted"
For best results, use a fish grilling basket or soaked skewers to hold sardines together. In lieu of grilling altogether use a cast-iron pan and sear sardines until crisp.
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 yellow onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced small (about 2 cups)
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 Fresno chile peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 4 Cups breadcrumbs, toasted
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/3 Cup finely chopped parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 6 large sardines, scaled and gutted (or any petite fish that can be stuffed, about 6 inches long)
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving
Step 1: Preheat a grill to high heat, or prepare a grill pan for indoor grilling.
Step 2: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add 1 diced onion along with 2 cups diced bell pepper to pan. Season with a big pinch of salt and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add 2 minced Fresno chiles and 1 finely minced clove garlic, continuing to cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant and tender.
Step 4: Sprinkle in 4 cups breadcrumbs, tossing to coat and stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until breadcrumbs are toasted and crispy.
Step 5: Remove from heat and season breadcrumbs with zest of 1 lemon, ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Step 6: Stuff a few spoonfuls of breadcrumbs into each sardine. Drizzle sardines with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Carefully place stuffed sardines into a grill basket and grill over medium-high heat until skin starts to crisp and sardines are cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Step 7: Serve sardines warm, garnishing with any remaining breadcrumbs and serving with lemon wedges.