Grilled (or chargrilled) sardines are very popular at home, especially in summer time. It is also common to grill the sardines wrapped in vine leaves – the tangy taste of vine leaves work well with the distinctive flavor of sardines (You can buy preserved vine leaves in jars in supermarkets or Middle Eastern / Mediterranean stores).
I like to grill sardines with cherry tomatoes and bell peppers; their juicy, sweet flavor complements the strong taste of sardines well. Make sure to serve the sardines with wedges of lemon to squeeze over and perhaps with some boiled new potatoes for a complete meal.
Serves 4 – 5
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
250gr/10oz sardines (12 pieces), scaled, gutted and washed
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper (or mixture), cut in half and sliced in long strips
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 preserved vine leaves
30 ml/2tablespoon olive oil
5ml/1teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Wedges of lemon to serve
Handful of fresh dill, coarsely chopped to decorate
Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the bell peppers for 3-4 minutes. Toss the tomatoes into the pan and mix them well. Season with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes. Combine well and turn the heat off.
Spread the vine leaves out on a flat surface and place a sardine on each leaf. Wrap each sardine loosely in the leaf like a cigar. Brush each leaf with a little olive oil and place seam side down.
Place the sardines on a baking tray. Spread the tomato and bell pepper mixture amongst the sardines. Squeeze half a lemon over the mixture.
Preheat the grill on a moderate heat. Place the tray under the grill for about 14 minutes, turning over every 2 minutes, until the vine leaves are charred. Once cooked, sprinkle the fresh dill all over and serve hot, with wedges of lemon by the side.
You know, I must try this.We have a neighbour in Assos who serves this and it is always a success!
I think you will enjoy it – and the grilled, juicy tomatoes and peppers really soften sardine's strong flavor. I bet the vine leaves in Assos would be fantastic!
Hope you are enjoying Istanbul – for me too!:)
Looks utterly delicious, will try as soon as possible!
thank you Barbara:)a truly Mediterranean dish, hope you enjoy it,
We love sardines and they’re not just not that big around the Fethiye area – guess because they’re mainly a cold water fish. We always order them when we go to Izmir, though. This recipe looks fab. 🙂
Many thanks Julia, glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂
This was wonderful! Enjoyed by all- doubled quantity & cooked under broiler.
So delighted to hear you enjoyed this recipe – I love the ease of preparation and how healthy it is too – Afiyet Olsun.
Just to let you know this recipe and many more healthy, delicious Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – signed copies available at this link and delivered worldwide, if interested :
Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem