Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Barbecued sardines

Prep time overnight
Cook time overnight
Serves 4
From James Martin: Home Comforts
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. 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.


  • 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

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