Perfect on the barbecue, sardines add a taste of summer to any meal and are the perfect addition to an al fresco salad
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Why are they sustainable?
Shoals of sardines are found, and fished, in many areas. As they are fast growing, stocks recover quickly, which makes them a sustainable option. During the summer months they are often caught in the waters between Cornwall and Brittany – smaller and slightly oilier fish are found in the Mediterranean and are particularly delicious.
Seasoning the fish with coarse rock salt stops them sticking to the barbecue or griddle.
How many per person?
Sardines vary in weight but are usually about 85-100g each. Generally you need to buy 3-4 per person as a main course. Sardines are part of the herring family and are basically small pilchards: both herring and sprats are good alternatives.
Choose the best
Look for fish that are still in rigor mortis, rigid and often curled in shape, ideally packed in plenty of ice. This indicates the fish haven’t been out of the water for very long. If not rigid, look for fish that are firm to touch and, importantly, have very bright raised eyes with black pupils and a clear cornea. Another key thing is the gills. The fishmonger to show you. They should be deep red if fresh, avoid any turning brown.