Barbecued sardines

Barbecued sardines

This cheap fish starter is a rough-and-ready summer hit – and the perky salsa is awesome, too.

Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a barbecue and four, untreated pieces of wood.


  • 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped out, flesh finely diced
  • 1 banana shallot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 16 sardines, scales and guts removed (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation method

  1. Soak four pieces of clean thick untreated wood in cold water, preferably overnight.

  2. Thirty minutes before you want to eat, light the barbecue. Allow the flames to flare up and die down.

  3. Meanwhile, mix the cucumber, shallot, garlic, oil, herbs and lime juice together in a bowl, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

  4. When the barbecue coals are red hot, nail four sardines by the tail to each plank of wood. Place the pieces of wood onto the coals (or alternatively on a rack near the coals) and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the sardines are charred and cooked through.

  5. To serve, place four sardines onto each serving plate. Spoon the salsa alongside.

Top recipe tip

The sardines can be cooked under the grill if barbecue weather isn’t forthcoming.

James Martin recipes from James Martin: Home Comforts

Overnight preparation time

Less than 10 mins cooking time

Serves 4

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