Grilled Sardines/Sardinha Assada

The cornerstone of Portuguese coastal lifestyle. The smell of sardines grilling outdoors flavours any recollections of walks trough Bairro Alto in Lisbon, Ribeira in Porto or a small town on the coast of Alentejo.

This is one of those incredibly simple dishes which can very easily go wrong. The two main elements are the sardines themselves and the “assador” the person who grills them. In restaurants specialising in grilled fish this is a specific person, different from the chef.

The traditional season for Sardines in Portugal is July during the religious festivals. Sardines feature in everything from large banquets to fast food stalls where you eat one on a piece of bread while standing and drinking a glass of wine or sangria.
Sardines for grilling need to be absolutely fresh, medium size and pre-salted for at least 30 minutes.

Grilled Sardines
Grilled Sardines


1. Salt the sardines generously with sea salt and  keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Sardines for grilling are not gutted. In the meantime get the charcoal going.

2. Place the sardines on a griddle and put on the bbq as low down as possible. Sardines is a fatty fish and as fat drops into the charcoal, unwanted flame appears. Putting the griddle directly on the charcoal avoids this (you need to make sure the charcoal isn’t too hot though). Through water over the charcoal if flames emerge (remove sardines first though!)

3. Grill roughly 5 minutes on each side. Sardines should have a nice char-grilled finish but not be overcooked. You can always try one on a piece of bread as you go!

4. Serve with grilled pepper salad and good bread.


Published by

Pedro Rebelo

Pedro is a composer, sound artist and performer. In 2002, he was awarded a PhD by the University of Edinburgh where he conducted research in both music and architecture. Pedro has recently led participatory projects involving communities in Belfast, favelas in Maré, Rio de Janeiro, travelling communities in Portugal and a slum town in Mozambique. This work has resulted in sound art exhibitions at venues such as the Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, Centro Cultural Português Maputo, Espaço Ecco in Brasilia and Parque Lage and Museu da Maré in Rio, Museu Nacional Grão Vasco and MAC Nitéroi. His music has been presented in venues such as the Melbourne Recital Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Ars Electronica, Casa da Música, and in events such as Weimarer Frühjahrstage fur zeitgenössische Musik, Wien Modern Festival, Cynetart and Música Viva. His work as a pianist and improvisor has been released by Creative Source Recordings and he has collaborated with musicians such as Chris Brown, Mark Applebaum, Carlos Zingaro, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros as well as artists such as Suzanne Lacy. His writings reflect his approach to design and creative practice in a wider understanding of contemporary culture and emerging technologies. Pedro has been Visiting Professor at Stanford University (2007), senior visiting professor at UFRJ, Brazil (2014) and Collaborating Researcher at INEM-md Universidade Nova, Lisboa (2016). He has been Music Chair for international conferences such as ICMC 2008, SMC 2009, ISMIR 2012 and has been invited keynote speaker at ANPPOM 2017, ISEA 2017, CCMMR 2016 and EMS 2013. At Queen's University Belfast, he has held posts as Director of Education, Director of Research and Head of School. In 2012 he was appointed Professor of Sonic Arts at Queen's and awarded the Northern Bank's "Building Tomorrow's Belfast" prize. He has recently been awarded two major grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council including the interdisciplinary project “Sounding Conflict”, investigating relationships between sound, music and conflict situations. Ongoing research interests include immersive sound design and augmented listening experiences. Pedro has been appointed Director of the Sonic Arts Research Centre in 2021.

2 thoughts on “Grilled Sardines/Sardinha Assada”

  1. Obrigada pela visita ao meu blog que me permite descobrir o seu. Está de parabéns: fotos lindas, textos bem escritos, receitas especiais com um autêntico cheirinho à Portugal… Já está na minha blogroll, claro!

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