Sardinhas Assadas- Grilled Portuguese Sardines: The Uncleaned Version

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

It’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy some great food and drink! We’ve grilled some great fish and shellfish. Wild Alaskan salmon, swordfish, grilled squid and barbequed oysters are just a few of the things that have graced our grill. Whole fish such as red snapper, bluefish, mackerel, black bass and an old favorite, sardines, have made for a lot of happy friends and family. We’ve shared a few recipes for sardines in the past and here’s grilled Portuguese sardines.


On a visit to Toronto a few years ago, we were walking through Kensington Market on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when we noticed the smoky, unmistakable aroma of sardines grilling! The old Portuguese restaurant, Amadeu’s, had a big grill on the street with lots of the sizzling little beauties. We sat down to one of the most simple and wonderful meals of the summer- sardines with crusty bread. That’s it! Along with a glass of Vinho Verde. Life is good.

I watched the cook as he kicked out hundreds of sardines and asked where they came from. He said they were vessel frozen from Portugal. Just like the ones we sell at the market! For years we’ve been scaling, gilling and gutting sardines for our customers but I noticed something a little different going on here. These fish were not cleaned!  Not gutted, not scaled, just tossed in coarse sea salt and grilled. With no holes for the precious fat to drip out of and the crispy scales sealing in flavor and moisture, these little fish were deelish.

We all love the rare occasion that fresh Portuguese sardines are available at the market but this new easy method with good quality frozen will keep us in sardines all year round. If you’d prefer the cleaned grilled sardine version, here’s our grilled sardines with caponata.


Monahan's Seafood

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