Sardinhas grelhadas

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– Memories of Alfama/ Lisbon –

A few years ago JS and I flew all the way out to Portugal – a country neither of us had visited before but always wanted to experience.

So we spent a wonderful, but mainly rainy week (but who cared really? We did not!) in Lisbon in time to take part in this city’s “Saint Antony’s Day” on 13th June.

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On the eve of the Saint’s Day (even thou he is generally known as St. Antony of Padua, he was actually born in Lisbon) the whole city turns crazy – into their annual sardinhas- and -beer –bacchanal; the streets are lined with make-shift grill stations and the smell of grilled sardinhas ……. Oh! My goodness, you just have to fly over and experience this for yourself. Everybody is celebrating and having generally a great time and the occasional drizzle from the sky above does not spoil the fun.

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We spent our evening/night in the Alfama district – which is the oldest district of Lisbon. Like the previous day, we had spent our afternoon here at the famous and so beautiful São Jorge Castle.

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Alfama is regarded as the most genuine and authentic neighbourhood in the city. We walked the ancient cobble stones and soon found ourselves a table, where we sat and let the beguiling wail of Fado drift over us which came at us literally from all 4 corners (and more!). And, like most girls/women I too was given a small pot of fresh basil -following the tradition – (known as: manjerico) by JS as a symbol of affection – but on my brightly coloured paper carnations with a poem written on them, I missed out – that time!

For you, who like to read more about our visit to Portugal please go to JS very own Blog:

https://manningtreearchive.com/category/viva-portugal

Obrigado …..Amalia, obrigado fado, obrigado Lisboa! But most of all, thank you Santo Antonio.

I could fill pages of telling you about that night ….. but, I am sure by now you like to read my version of ‘grilled sardines’ – sardinhas grelhadas! A recipe I jotted down on a paper napkin that night.

This is a very easy dish to prepare – appr. 30 minutes is all it takes. The numbers of sardinhas per person depends very much on your appetite, have a bowl of boiled potatoes and an even bigger bowl of beautiful salad – and sit out in the sunshine and enjoy!

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Sardinhas grelhadas Alfama style

INGREDIENTS

3-4 large potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 Tbsp of hot smoked paprika
1/4 cup or so (60ml) olive oil
1 red capsicum
1 yellow capsicum
½ green capsicum
1 Avocado, stone removed, peeled and cubed
1 apple, peeled and cut into cubes
4 tomatoes, de-seeded and cubed
2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp of minced garlic (or less)
A generous portion of pitted and sliced black/purple olives
A generous portion of fresh basil
A generous handful of coriander
1-2 tsp lemon juice
12 fresh sardines (or more) cleaned
1 lemon, quartered

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METHOD
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook the potatoes until almost tender, drain and allow drying out for a few minutes.
2 Toss potatoes with paprika and 1 tablespoon oil. Season and spread on a large lined baking tray, then roast for 20 minutes or until golden.
3 Meanwhile, heat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Brush the capsicums with a little extra olive oil and grill for 4-5 minutes, turning, until the skin blisters. Set aside in a bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Once cool enough to handle, peel and cut into thin strips.
4 Place in a bowl with a couple of the cooked potatoes, then toss with tomatoes, onion, avocado, apple, garlic, basil, coriander, lemon juice and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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5 Increase the chargrill pan or barbeque heat to high. Brush the sardines and the grill with a little more oil to help prevent sticking. Sprinkle the sardines with 1 teaspoon sea salt – the soft-flaked varieties is best – then cook the sardines for 2-3 minutes each side until the skin is scorched and bubbling.
6 Divide the sardines among plates, then top with some of the salad and serve with lemon.

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7. Place a separate bowl of boiled potatoes and a bowl of salad.

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8. Chunky country bread or baguette will also be good.

Notes:
Our Alfama cook suggested that I dry the washed sardinhas thoroughly with a tea-towel before frying – and I followed his advice back home.
I did not use a barbeque since I did not want my sardinhas to stick to the grill – so I dry-fried them in the pan – and they turned out good.

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Desfrute de sua refeição – Enjoy your meal!
Carina

I leave you with the most beautiful voice of Amália Rodrigues
Ha festa na Mouraria” by Amália Rodrigues

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