Sardinhas Assadas com Cebolada
Sardines season in Portugal is from the month of May to October.This sustainable food is extremely popular and is very healthy because the sardines are loaded with calcium, vitamin E, protein and contain good fish oil.
Portuguese sardines have the Blue Label awarded by the Marine Stewardship Council, which means fishing of sardines in Portugal takes account the sustainability of the sea resources. Sardine catches happen all along the Portuguese Coastline but the most favored sardines come from Algarve. Portimão in the Algarve, is where you eat the best fresh grilled sardines, especially at the Sardine Festival during the first 10 days of August.
Most festivals and picnics in Portuguese communities feature sardines. The festivals for the Saints; John, Peter and Anthony feature grilled sardines and often sold by the dozen at these festivals along with Portuguese rolls; Papo Secos or other crusty breads.
When served as a main dish, they are accompanied by the humble boiled potatoes, grilled onions and peppers and a simple salad with olive oil vinaigrette.
Cooking Sardines at Our Lady of Fatima Church Festival
1 to 2 pounds of Fresh or Frozen Sardines
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 large onion (sliced)
2 large garlic cloves (chopped)
Portuguese olive oil
Step 1: If your sardines are frozen, defrost them slightly in a large bowl by rinsing them with cold water and covering them with a good coating of sea salt. Let them sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the salt. Drain any moisture from the bowl and set in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill.
Step 2: Heat the grill on high.
Step 3: Rub the onions and peppers with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Cook peppers and onions on the grill until the skin has charred and fully cooked all around. Place peppers in a brown paper lunch bag and set aside. Place the onions aside in a medium heat proof bowl on the grill to keep warm.
Step 4: Meanwhile place the sardines on a slightly greased charcoal or gas grill on medium high heat. Let the sardines cook until they turn golden brown and slightly crispy, turning them gently not to break the skin.
When they are fully cooked, cover with foil and place them on a platter in a warm place.
Step 5: Remove the peppers from the paper bag and peel off the skin. You’ll find the skin will come out easily.
Slice the peppers into strips and mix with the onions. Add chopped garlic, olive oil and more salt and pepper. Heat slightly and pour the mixture over the cooked sardines.
Main image credit: http://www.fivsetubal.com