This is the beach where I swim each day when I’m vacationing in Greece. Sandy beaches, bath-warm water and the tranquility I feel when I’m near or in the sea.
After the bathers retire to their homes for the evening, another entire different pilgrimage to the waters occurs. It’s that of the fishermen.
They will fish all night, catching what seafood they can to feed our appetites with the bounty of the sea.
For most Greeks, fresh fish and seafood has become quite expensive as demand has risen for seafood, the oceans and seas are slowly being over-fished and Greece’s tourism adds further pressure to higher prices.
The affordable and popular choice among Greeks is Gavros (anchovy), Marida and Sardines.
Most of us here in North America are only familiar with the canned variety…not so tempting. The fresh sardine, fried or grilled (my preference) is hard to beat.
The sardine has a as much (if not more) Omega 3 fats than salmon and because they are lower on the food chain of the sea, minimal exposure to Mercury.
Last year when I was in Greece, a kilo of sardines sold for about 5 Euros…enough to feed four. If you’re lucky to find some fresh sardines at your fish monger, take them and grill them. You’ll have one of the best seafood experiences in your life.
1 kg. fresh sardines
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
dried Greek oregano
- To gut a whole head-on sardine, pinch the gills on both sides at the base of the head and pull them out. Often the innards will pull out at the same time. If not, slit open the underneath and scoop them out from under the belly cavity.
- Rinse your sardines in & out with cold water while rubbing to remove the scales. To remove the head, snap it back, breaking the spine and pull it off.
- Pat dry your sardines and get your grill fired up (high heat). Brush your grill well so that there’s no residue from your previous grilled items. Wipe the grill with some vegetable oil to lubricate it.
- Drizzle your sardines with some sunflower oil (olive oil will burn) and then season with salt and pepper.
- Grill your sardines on high heat for 2 minutes a side.
- Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, squeeze of fresh lemon and dried Greek Oregano.
- Serve with Ouzo, Vlita, a salad and some bread.
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