• My Portugal by George Mendes


Grilled Sardines with Charred Peppers

By George Mendes

Fresh sardines are completely different from the tiny, salted canned kind. They’re as fatty as salmon but with firm yet flaky mild white flesh. Their thin skin’s tough enough to hold up on the grill, but delicate–and delicious–enough to eat. I love the roasted, marinated peppers here, but the sardines are also great on their own with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

My Portugal by George Mendes

Servings: 2


  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Sherry vinegar, to taste
  • 6 sardines, gutted and cleaned
  • Maldon sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 4 lemon wedges, for serving


Prepare a grill by heating a mixture of all-natural briquettes and hardwood lump charcoal until very hot.

Lightly coat the peppers with oil and very generously season with kosher salt. Place on the hot grill grate and grill, turning occasionally, until blackened and collapsed, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a dish. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel the skins off and remove the stems and seeds. Cut the peppers into 1/2-inch (12 mm) wide strips and toss with oil and vinegar. Let stand to marinate.

Make sure your grill is still very hot. If not, add more charcoal and heat.

Lightly coat the sardines with oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Place on the hot grill grate and grill, turning occasionally, until grill marks appear and the sardines start to whistle, about 8 minutes.

Transfer to serving plates and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle Maldon salt on top of the fish. Garnish with the parsley. Serve with the marinated peppers and lemon wedges.

Recipe from My Portugal: Recipes and Stories by George Mendes. Order your copy here.

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