Photograph: Marvin Gapultos
Because of their small size, sardines make for a quick and easy to prepare finger food option. When quickly crisped over an open flame, they are great when paired with a glass of Rioja or a cold beer.
- 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh juice from about 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fresh sardines, cleaned, scaled, and gutted
- Fine sea salt, or Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Combine the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Arrange the sardines in a single layer on the bottom of a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over the fish. Turn the fish to ensure they are coated evenly, and spoon some of the marinade into the cavity of each fish. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals in an even layer on the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set all of the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Remove the sardines from the marinade and grill over direct heat until well-charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a metal spatula or fish turner, flip the sardines over and grill until charred on second side and cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the sardines to a large platter and season with salt. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
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