Sunday, August 26, 2018


In Galicia (northwest Spain), a sardiñada is an outdoor party with heaps of grilled fresh sardines served with cachelos, potatoes boiled in their skins, and pan de millo, a kind of cornbread. (n the Galician language, a sardine is a sardiña. sardina in castellano Spanish). To try out my new gas grill, I staged a mini-sardiñada on my patio.

The roasted sardines, dripping with fat and juices, are heaped on slabs of Galician bread, a yeasted bread made with both wheat flour and corn meal. I made a traditional bread, but instead of baking it, I turned the dough into a flatbread and cooked it on the grill. I added a garlic-parsley oil to dribble on the bread, potatoes and sardines. The only thing missing at my sardiñada were the Padrón peppers!

Fresh sardines, roasted on the grill, with cornbread, potatoes and parsley oil.

Serve these with a roll of paper towels! Pick up a sardine with your fingers, break off the head, pinch out the innards (easy once cooked) and eat the flesh right off the bone.

Use slices of grilled cornbread to soak up the sardine's juices.

Grilled Sardines
Sardinas Asadas a la Parilla

Sardines for the grill don't need to be gutted. Sprinkle with coarse salt and they're ready to be cooked.

Sardines stay juicier if grilled whole, so don’t remove scales nor gut the sardines before grilling. A hinged grill makes flipping the small fish easier. If not available, try wrapping the sardines in grape leaves. Grill them until skin begins to turn brown and crackly. I overcooked my first batch, because they didn't brown properly. I needed to close the grill cover to keep the temperature hot enough to grill the fish. 

Serve the sardines accompanied by the grilled flatbread (recipe follows) or slices of baguette that have been grilled.

6-12 sardines per person
Coarse salt
Sliced, grilled bread, to serve

Rinse the sardines in water. Drain them well. Put them in a shallow bowl and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

A hinged grill makes turning the sardines easy.

Grilling with a view. I am trying out a new gas grill on my patio.

Skin gets crackly-brown with grilling.

Preheat grill. Arrange sardines on a hinged grill. Grill until skins begin to turn brown and crisp. Turn the rack of sardines and grill reverse side. Serve accompanied by slices of grilled bread.

Cachelos, potatoes boiled in their skins, are a typical Galician side. Here they are served with pungent garlic-parsley olive oil aliño, or dressing.

Garlic-Parsley Oil Dressing
Aliño de Aceite con Perejil y Ajo

Drizzle this on the cachelos (potatoes boiled in their skins) and the sliced cornbread.

1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2-3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

Place the parsley and garlic in a blender or mini-processor and chop finely. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Grilled Cornbread
Pan de Millo a la Parilla

A flatbread of mixed wheat flour and cornmeal bakes on the grill.

Millo is the Galician word for maíz, or corn. This Galician bread can be made with half cornmeal and half wheat flour. Sometimes a little rye flour is added too. If baking it as bread, shape the dough into a 12-inch round loaf. Let the loaf rise again before baking. For the grill, the dough is rolled out about ¾ inch thick to make a flatbread.

1 cup warm water
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ½ cups flour (preferably bread flour) + additional for flouring the board
1 cup yellow corn meal
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil + more to brush the dough

Place the warm water in a small bowl. Add the sugar and yeast. Allow to stand 5 minutes, until yeast is bubbly.

Combine the flour, corn meal and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the oil and the yeast water. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dry ingredients into the liquid. Once combined, turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead the dough until smooth and stretchy, 5 minutes.

Gather the dough into a ball. Place in a clean oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise, approximately 2 hours. 

Brush dough with oil on both sides.

Punch the dough down. Turn out onto lightly floured board and roll it out into a circle or rectangle, approximately ¾ inch thick. Brush the top with oil. Place the dough, oiled side down, on a baking sheet or bread peel.

Heat the grill on maximum. Slide the bread onto the grill and close the cover. Immediately turn off the heat beneath the bread. (If grilling over coals, push coals to the edges before placing dough on the grill.) Bake the bread 5 minutes.

Flip the bread and close the cover of the grill.
Turn the dough. Either flip it on the grill or slide it onto the baking sheet, turn it over and slide back onto the grill. Cover the grill and bake until bread is done, 10-15 minutes more.

Allow the bread to cool before slicing. 


More recipes for fresh sardines:

Missing from my sardine fest--Galician Padrón peppers. See more about these delectable peppers here.


  1. Wonderful ,,,, Galician feast!!

    Many Thanx,
    ¨Sweet. Basil¨