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Portugese Barbequed Sardines with Piri-piri Oil


  • 12-16 fresh sardines

  • For the piri-piri oil

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 small lemon, finely grated zest and juice only

  • ½ tsp crushed, dried chilli flakes

  • 120ml/4fl oz olive oil

  • 4-6 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 small red peppers

  • salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 50g/2oz well-flavoured black olives

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • red wine vinegar

  • crusty bread, thickly sliced, to serve


  • 1.

    To prepare the red peppers for the salad, spear them on a fork and turn the peppers in the flame of a gas burner or blowtorch until the skin has blistered. Alternatively roast them in a preheated oven at 220C/425F/Gas 7 for 20 minutes, turning once.

  • 2.

    Remove the peppers from the heat and leave to cool then break in half and remove the stalk, skin and seeds. Cut into thin slices.

  • 3.

    To prepare the sardines, rub off the scales with your thumb, working under running cold water, then gut them and trim off the fins.

  • 4.

    To make the piri-piri oil, simply mix all the ingredients together and season with a little salt and pepper.

  • 5.

    If you are using a charcoal barbecue, light it 30-40 minutes before you want to start cooking. If using a gas barbecue, light it ten minutes beforehand.

  • 6.

    Meanwhile, for the salad, arrange the sliced tomatoes over a large serving plate and sprinkle with the sliced onion and roasted peppers.

  • 7.

    Season with salt and pepper, scatter over the olives and drizzle with a little oil and vinegar.

  • 8.

    When you are ready to cook, the charcoal should be covered in a layer of white ash. Make three shallow slashes on either side of each fish and brush generously inside and out with the piri-piri oil.

  • 9.

    Cook them on the barbecue for three minutes on each side, until the skin blisters and chars a little and the eyes turn opaque.

  • 10.

    Serve them on the slices of bread with some of the salad to follow.


NB: If you do not have a barbecue you can cook the sardines under a preheated hot grill or on a preheated hot griddle pan, turning once until lightly charred.

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Posted by Report
I love the simplicity of Rick's cooking. He is amazing. Getting back to the way food should be produced and prepared. No other additives other than Natures flavours.