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Grilled sardines

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Sardines, or pilchards, are several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines were named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, where they once lived in abundance.

Sardines play an important role in Portuguese culture. Historically people who depend heavily on the sea for food and commerce, the Portuguese have a predilection for fish in their popular festivities. The most important is Saint Anthony's day, June 13, when Portugal's biggest popular festival takes place in Lisbon, where grilled sardines are the snack of choice. Almost every place in Portugal, from Figueira da Foz to Portalegre, from Póvoa de Varzim to Olhão, has the summertime tradition of eating grilled sardines (sardinhas assadas).

Grilled sardines are quite easy to prepare. Before grilling the sardines are salted or marinated a little in a mixture of garlic powder, turmeric, cornstarch, chili, salt, white pepper and black pepper. Then the sardines are grilled and served. They can be served with some sauce, salads or grilled or raw vegetables. In Portugal these are usually potatoes, onions, chilies and tomatoes.

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