Seeing as I miraculously still have internet access, I am using the window of opportunity to post a second post immediately. That's more than I've managed in months! And seeing as I like the photo so much, here it is again...
I love fresh sardines and I don't think it's possible or even legal to visit Portugal without eating them at least once. We've had them grilled and fried, filleted and whole, with garlic and with garlic, and they were always good. They are normally quite easy to find and relatively cheap so give them a try right there in your own kitchen and bring a ray of Portuguese sunlight into your life!
I had the sardines in the photo as a main course and could have had a couple more sardines – but I am a greedy pig so 4 might do you fine. I recommend 4-8 sardines per person as a main course served with salad and french fries or bread. And don't forget the lemon!
These were pan fried but they are deelicious braaied/grilled. I'll give instructions for both ways.
If you are cooking them whole as in the photo, then you do not need to gut them. Just rub off the scales with a cloth or paper towel. Wash and pat dry. If they are not too big, you can eat everything, but otherwise they come off the bone easily once cooked.
To butterfly: Cut off the head and slit open along the belly. Remove the innards and carefully cut out the backbone without cutting the skin. Cut it off close to the tail, but leave the tail – it looks good and tastes crispy and deelicious.
Turn the sardines in seasoned flour and shake off excess flour.
To pan fry: Heat 2-3 tbsp oil and fry the whole fish 2-3 minutes per side. Add 1tbsp chopped garlic to the pan when you flip the fish. You don't want to burn the garlic as it will taste bitter if burnt. Remove from the pan and serve with the garlic and chopped parsley.
If you are pan frying the butterflied sardines, place the fish skin side down in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until, browned, then flip and cook for 1 minute, remove from the heat and leave in the pan for another minute to finish cooking.
To grill: Once you've dusted them with flour, brush them with oil or garlic oil and place them side by side on an oiled hinged grill. Grill / bbq / braai them close to high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. You can also place them under the grill / broiler in your oven, but then allow 5 minutes per side.
All that's left now is to sit back and enjoy a small piece of tasty Portugal.