Grilled Sardines

I came across super fresh sardines today and I couldn’t help but buy them. I’ll grill my sardines -after I clean them- and serve them with a mixed salad that is the perfect side dish, in my opinion.

What about sardines in the mountains? Not a very common mountainy dish but honestly, why not?! You need to be really creative and inventive during fasting season, after all! You need to search for daily inspiration so that you won’t end up with a boring and repetitive menu. As we all know, being in the mountains goes hand in hand with cooking with fire and sardines seemed like a great idea.

We’re not extremely hard on ourselves during fasting season but we do abstain from meat and dairy. We consume fish and seafood sometimes, and all kinds of vegetables, of course! Things change a bit during Holy Week when we only consume vegetables and legumes.

I don’t see fasting as something restraining, on the contrary, I really enjoy doing it. I feel like I’m doing something very beneficial for me and I can clearly see its importance and the wisdom behind it. Besides its nutritional and antioxidant value, it is also an important part of our religious tradition and I feel like it keeps me close to my roots, my memories, my beliefs!

I’m trying to be extra creative these days and avoid repeating myself in our daily menus. We don’t want to get bored and starve ourselves, not that there’s any chance this could ever happen. Quite the opposite! It’s actually psychologically proven that when we feel we’re deprived of a food group, we start thinking that we’re undernourished. Our poor brain receives the signal and before we know it, we’re munching on unnecessary and fattening food all day long. My kind of “unnecessary” menu includes many crackers, bread sticks, “healthy” biscuits, cereal bars.. Very nutritional, obviously! By the end of fasting season, we’re looking at our scales in shock! We need to be cautious, and I say that to hear it myself!


But making sardines isn’t an idea I thought of now, it’s a weekly, healthy habit. This tiny, humble but delicious fish has an undeniably high nutritional value. It was also a dish I had incorporated into our kid’s menu. Every week. It was combined with our beloved spinach purée. I don’t quite remember whether this dish was enthusiastically accepted from the beginning but it certainly became one of our favourites. It’s important to present dishes to kids as a given so that they will stay. As parents, we often make the mistake of not being persistent enough and we don’t give the time needed for our kids to get used to new things. We tend to give in quite easily.

I’ve come to the conclusion –knowing the nutritional value of this particular dish- that it’s better to get the extremely important Omega 3 from super fresh, local sardines rather than prefer imported fish of unknown origin. They too appear on our table sometimes but sardines will always come first.

I came across super fresh sardines today and I couldn’t help but buy them. I knew we’d spend the weekend in the mountains but so what? I’ll grill my sardines -after I clean them- and serve them with a mixed salad that is the perfect side dish, in my opinion. Sardines love onions, oregano, parsley, tomato, olive oil.. Incorporate this lovely dish into your menu and you won’t regret it!


1kg sardines


5-6 tbsp olive oil

Dried oregano


For the salad:

30 cherry tomatoes cut in 4 (or even smaller)

1 small onion , chopped

Half a bunch of parsley, chopped

2-3 spring onions, chopped

Oil for the salad



1. Wash the sardines very well and clean their inside part cautiously. Press the fish on the neck and open it, from the backbone towards the body. Remove its guts and bone. When the sardine is very fresh, this process is a bit more difficult as the flesh is a lot harder. Add salt and oil your fish.

2. Place the fish on a non-stick grill and cook until both sides are golden. Do not overcook them, they’re small and they’ll dry out fast. When they’re ready, place them in a platter and dress with some extra oil and oregano.  

3. Prepare your salad. Cut the cherry tomatoes in four or even smaller parts. Chop the onion, parsley and spring onions. Stir all the ingredients well and add salt and oil.

4.Serve the salad on the same platter, next to the sardines.