Grilled fresh sardines are one of the most unheralded treats of summer. Fortunately, thanks to the surge of interest in all things Mediterranean, as well as the return of the California sardine fishery, these morsels are becoming more popular...almost trendy.
Any whole fish is tough to grill -- they have a tendency to stick to the grate -- but sardines are especially difficult. Wrapping them in grape or fig leaves is an easy way to solve the dilemma. Brined grape leaves are available in many supermarkets somewhere around the jars of olives.
Wrapping in grape leaves also lets you stuff the fish with whatever yummy filling you choose. I like a combination of breadcrumbs, mushrooms, parsley, garlic and olive oil.
Photo copyright 2008 Hank Shaw