Recipe: Grilled butterflied sardines with heritage tomatoes, basil salad and lemon salsa

If you’re looking for something light and fresh-tasting, look no further than these Mediterranean-inspired grilled sardines and accompanying sides. A classic menu item in Spanish tapas, they are a quick, easy and flavoursome meal option, and pair beautifully with a Rioja or cold beer.


400g sardine fillets, butterflied
500g heritage tomatoes
30g fresh basil leaves
Italian extra virgin olive oil
120g mixed petite leaves
100g rocket
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, for seasoning
350g red onions or banana shallots, thinly sliced
4 lemons
1 whole garlic
Fresh parsley


Half a lemon
Heritage tomatoes
Fresh basil


  1. Heat your barbecue or grill to its hottest temperature.
  2. Lightly toss the sardines in oil so that they don’t stick, and place on the hot grill.
  3. Cook for three to four minutes on each side. Once cooked, remove to a waiting plate.
  4. Add a squeeze of lemon, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt to serve.

Serving options

Heritage tomato and basil salad

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil on the stove.
  2. Remove the tomato core and make a cross on the bottom.
  3. Plunge into boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Remove and place into cold water.
  4. Once cold, remove the skin.
  5. Cut the tomatoes into 1.5cm slices and place into a large bowl.
  6. Tear the basil leaves, discarding the stalks, and add to the tomato slices.
  7. Add 175g red onions/shallots, 100g olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Place the tomato salad onto a serving plate or bowl and serve.

Lemon salsa

  1. Peel the lemons by cutting off the ends, sitting them upright and cutting away the zest and pith from the top to the bottom, turning as you go.
  2. Roughly chop the flesh and remove any visible pips.
  3. Place the flesh in a bowl.
  4. Add 175g of sliced red onions or shallots, a crushed/chopped whole garlic clove, 5g of salt, 2g of pepper, 100g extra virgin olive oil and a dessert spoon of chopped parsley to a bowl.
  5. Mix together and leave to macerate for an hour.

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