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Sardinhas Assadas – Roasted Sardines

Sardinhas Assadas – Roasted Sardines

by Maria Pacheco

Portuguese grilled sardines with red pepper - Portugal | Portugal.com

Portuguese grilled sardines with red pepper

Sardinhas assadas, or roasted sardines, is a traditional dish from Portugal. Portugal has a long tradition of fishing and consuming sardines, which are abundant in the waters off the coast of the country. The dish is particularly popular during the summer months when sardines are at their peak season.

Roasting sardines over an open flame is a traditional cooking method in Portugal, dating back many centuries. In the past, sardines were often cooked over charcoal fires on the beach, and the aroma of the cooking fish would draw crowds of people to enjoy the delicious, smoky flavor.

Today, sardinhas assadas is a beloved dish throughout Portugal and is often enjoyed as a festive meal with family and friends. It is typically served with a variety of side dishes, such as boiled potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a simple salad, and accompanied by a glass of chilled vinho verde, a refreshing, slightly effervescent wine from the Minho region of Portugal.

Here’s a simple recipe


  • 4-6 fresh sardines (per person), gutted and scaled
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Red peppers, chopped – optional


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

  2. Clean the sardines and pat them dry with paper towels.

  3. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

  4. Place the sardines in a baking dish, and pour the olive oil mixture over them, making sure each fish is well coated.

  5. Roast the sardines in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the flesh is cooked through and the skin is crispy.

  6. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the sardines and serve hot.

Note: Sardines can also be cooked on a grill or in a pan on the stove. If using a grill, preheat to medium-high heat and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. If cooking on a stove, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the sardines for 2-3 minutes on each side. 

Bom apetite!

Joe Portugal - Chef