Pan-grilled sardines with lemon-zest & chilli

Fish is a whole food, and nothing could be truer when it comes to sardines — since you can eat the skin and bones too (yep, the bones are edible).

Sardines are a fabulous source of healthy protein and are naturally high in iodine and essential omega-3 oils, such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Sardines, being small fish, are very low in mercury too.

As if protein, iodine, and omega-3 aren’t enough nutrients you can get from the little ol’ sardine, these fish also deliver high amounts of calcium — if you eat the bones (eating sardine bones are good for your bones!). The bones are quite soft in tinned sardines, making them easy to eat.


pan-fried sardinesServes 2

  • 12 fresh sardines (cleaned and gutted as described above)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • sea salt, to taste

Mix the last 4 ingredients in a large bowl then place the sardines into the marinade and coat evenly.

Heat a large griddle pan over medium heat, then pan-grill the sardines on one side for 3–4 minutes, then flip over and do the same on the other side. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the sardines in 2 batches, which is what I had to do.

I enjoyed my sardines with a side of some middle-eastern inspired veggies and chickpeas.