I love fresh sardines for their deep, delicious flavour – and this light, fresh salsa is a perfect foil to them. I like to cook the fish medium-rare to preserve a little pickiness near the bone; the flesh will be beautifully moist as a result. Consider serving with a dollop of seasoned yoghurt.
12 fresh, whole sardines
extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, quartered
For the mint and cucumber salsa
2 large handfuls mint, finely shredded
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut in half, deseeded and cut into thin slices
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 vine-ripened tomato, peeled, deseeded and diced
4 small red chillies, finely sliced into thin rings
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. For the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
2. Heat the barbecue to hot, clean the grill bars, place the sardines on a tray and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
3. Place the sardines on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes each side and remove.
4. Position a big spoonful of salsa in the middle of each of your four plates. Lie 3 sardines, all facing the same way, on the salsa bed. Sprinkle with sea salt and a good grind of pepper, add a lemon wedge, drizzle with olive oil and serve.