Barbecued sardines in vine leaves

Allegra McEvedy stuffs sardines with garlic and herbs before chargrilling and serving with a warm bean salad
By Allegra McEvedy
Barbecued sardines in vine leaves
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the beans

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Half a tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 350 g runner beans, topped, tailed and sliced thinish & long
  • 180 g broad beans, removed from pods
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tin of plum tomato
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

For the fish

  • 6 large vine leaves
  • 1 small onion, grated and squeezed
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large sardines, scaled and gutted
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Tips and Suggestions

Serve with salad and vegetable pilaff as a main course


1. For the bean accompaniment: Heat half the olive oil in a wide pan and fry the onion and garlic in it for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in the chilli so that the onions are well coated, then add the sliced runner beans, broad beans and dried mint.

2. Turn the heat up and stir from time to time until the beans are warmed through, then tip in the tomatoes. Fill the empty tin with water and add to the pan with the rest of the olive oil and bay leaves.

3. Season with salt and pepper, put a lid on and bring to a simmer, then take the lid off and turn the heat down to a steady simmer. Cook for half an hour, stirring from time to time. When there is not much liquid left, turn the heat off and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes before finishing with a squeeze of lemon.

4. For the fish: Cut the end of the stalk off the vine leaves and soak them in warm water, making sure they are properly separated. After 10 minutes, rinse them under cold running water and drape them over the edge of a colander, overlapping as little as possible, and leave to drain.

5. Wash the fish under running cold water and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix the grated and squeezed onion, garlic, cumin and parsley with some salt and pepper. Use this mix to stuff the sardines.

6. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pour over the sardines and marinade for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.

7. Heat up a griddle or BBQ.

8. Lay out the vine leaves shiny side down, then brush them with a little of the marinade. Wrap each fish carefully in a vine leaf. Cook them seam side down for about 6 minutes, turning half way through, at which point brush again with the marinade.

8. Squeeze lemon over the sardines and serve. Tear open and peel off the leaves to eat.

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