ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN TO THE SOUTH OF SPAIN IN SUMMER WOULD HAVE SEEN THE CHIRINGUITOS — THE SEASONAL BEACH BARS THAT SERVE BEER, SANGRIA AND SEAFOOD. SOME ALSO SERVE SARDINES IN THE TRADITIONAL MANNER. IT’S SIMPLE: YOU GET FRESH SARDINES, YOU SEASON THEM, YOU IMPALE THEM ON TWO STICKS AND YOU GRILL THEM OVER COALS. THE RESULT IS SENSATIONAL. THE MEATY SARDINES DRIP THEIR JUICE ONTO THE HOT COALS; THE JUICE VAPORISES, RISES UP AND BATHES THE FISH IN ITS OWN FUMES. YOU CAN CLEAN THE SARDINES IF YOU LIKE, OR DO AS THE ANDALUSIANS DO AND GRILL THEM WITH THE GUTS INTACT TO INCREASE THE FLAVOUR.
Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut away all the fins and tails from the sardines. Use a small sharp knife to cut down the belly, then remove and discard the innards. Rinse the sardines and pat dry with paper towel, then season inside and out with sea salt flakes.
Heat your coals to a temperature where you can only hold your hand
Season with a little more sea salt flakes and serve immediately with lemon wedges. To eat the sardines, grasp the fish at both ends and sink your teeth to the spine.
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