BBQ Sardines with Gremolata


Sardines with Gremolata

Forgotten are the dark, damp days of investing energy in root vegetables; peeling, chopping and roasting. The plop and bubble of a simmering stew is now a faded memory. Epic, steaming bowls of pasta are not needed to provide extra insulation. That’s a lie – I’m still eating those; pasta binges are necessary all year round. It is perfectly possible for a person to lose their shit without them.

Mostly though it’s about flash-grilling, plenty of herbs, zesty salads, crisp white wines and ice cold beers. Sardines are perfect for slapping on the BBQ. Well, not so much slapping as gently lowering in a fish kettle; their flesh bruises easily and their skin will stick to the grill without protection.

My favourite garnish is a classic one – gremolata. It’s a zippy mix of parsley, garlic and lemon zest which I also use to lighten heavier, winter dishes like beef ragu. Here it contrasts well with the oily fish and really, it couldn’t be simpler.

Sardines with Gremolata

Sardines, heads removed, scaled, gutted and cleaned (3 or 4 per person)
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 handful parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic

For the gremolata, just chop everything very finely and mix together.

For the sardines, there are a few options. Either rub them with oil, season and grill on a hot BBQ (ideally using a fish rack to prevent sticking) for a few minutes each side until cooked through and slightly charred on the outside. If you don’t have a fish kettle then it is perfectly possible to cook them on the BBQ but they will probably break and stick a little.

To cook inside: either oil, season and grill, or pan fry. To do the latter, open your fillets out then smear lightly with oil and dip each one into seasoned flour (both sides) before frying in a couple of tablespoons of oil in a hot pan – skin first. They will need a few minutes each side.

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  • Avatar
    Reply gastrogeek July 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    perfect summer fodder – love the idea of sticking the gremolata in a ragu as well.

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    Reply Chris July 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    There is literally no better way of cooking sardines than on the BBQ. Anyone that says otherwise is just wrong.

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    Reply msmarmitelover July 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Lovely! Must admit my pasta binges have reduced though x

  • Reply Tweets that mention Sardines with gremolata: summer grilling — Food Stories -- July 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FoodStories and Aletta Lintvelt. Aletta Lintvelt said: mmm. makes me wish it was summer over here RT @FoodStories: New blog post: sardines with gremolata […]

  • Avatar
    Reply Kerri July 12, 2010 at 10:41 am

    These look lovely. I wanted to cook sardines this weekend but find them difficult to track down.

    Totally with you on the pasta, after a weekend of grilled meat, I have a massive pasta craving!

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    Reply Lizzie July 12, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Lovely – many a time have I had a fish skin stick to my BBQ. I think it’s time to invest in a fish kettle. Gremolatas work so well with oily fishes.

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    Reply George@CulinaryTravels July 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Perfect summer food. The only thing that could top off BBQ sardines for a summer meal is, well, eating them beach side.

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    Reply BSG July 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Just right for these sweltering days when hard kitchen labour is out of the question and the tastebuds crave freshness. Yum. And they look lovely too.

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    Reply Miguel July 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    never heard of gremolata before! Does it works with grilled salmon? Do you use a food processor or hand chopped? Thanks Helen for this!

  • Avatar
    Reply Helen July 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks all for your comments – I love reading them x

    Miguel – Yes it would work beautifully with salmon. You can either chop by hand (I do) but a processor will work just as well. The only thing is it the mixture might clump together slightly. Give it a try and see what happens.

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    Reply aisling July 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    What a simple recipe, and what a fabulous photo – I am salivating as I write! I have a bbq planned this weekend and you’ve just solved my problem. Gracias!

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    Reply rosie lovell July 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    yum helen this looks wicked! see you on the roof top…. xxx

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    Reply Katie July 13, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I’m not a fan of sardines, but the gremolata sounds fab. I’m using so many lemons in my cooking at the moment… it’s the BEST summer ingredient! Think I’ll follow Miguel and try it on grilled salmon. Thanks!

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    Reply Northern Snippet July 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Love sardines just make me think of holidays,perfect summer food,love them barbecued.

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    Reply Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen July 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    These look delicious! I so wish we had fresh sardines available!

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    Reply Julie July 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    The Sardines with Gremolata (lemon, garlic and parsley) looks fantastic. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love the video of the spinich and cheese parcels. They look fantastic too. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Have a fun big lunch Helen.

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